Private visit for the friends of FRAC Champagne-Ardenne: monday, october 11th at 7 pm Public visits: every sunday at 4pm Visit for teachers: wednesday, october 13th at 2:30 pm Visit for students: wednesday, november 17th at 6:30pm
Curator: Florence Derieux
Under the name of Anna + Peter, German artist Anna Blessmann and legendary British designer Peter Saville present their first exhibition at the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne.
Peter Saville's works and ideas are a key reference point for understanding contemporary culture. Early on, he integrated the Modernist tenet of "education through acquisition". From the late 1970s, his work could be characterized as the quoting visual references from dif-ferent cultural fields, thus creating a mutual enrichment of the visual codes governing them.
As Michael Bracewell suggests, Peter Saville is interested in how design reflects a truth more readily assigned to art. He has been instrumental in repositioning design as a creative space that exists between functionality and non-functionality; as an artistic form free from materialism and consumerism; as "an alibi for broader concerns, which were more re-lated to a philosophy of cultural aesthetics".
In Saville's work, it is in fact the idea that takes precedence over the object. The work developed in recent years with Anna Blessmann has become increasingly removed from the idea of design as "problem solving", and has instead drawn closer to conceptual art, thus leaving aside the creation of forms for the re-arrangement and the reassessment of context and cultural status. While Peter Saville's interest in design always involves the relationship between product and technology, like Richard Hamilton whom he admires, it is the relationships between objects, people and contexts that Anna + Peter first and foremost problematize.
Swing Project 1 represents a unique collaboration between the artist and the designer, appealing simultaneously to the ideas, influences and skills of each. Through this project, Peter Saville, like an analyst and a decoder, proffers his observations on today's society in general, and most notably, his vision of visual culture. Anna Blessmann, on the other hand, brings us all of its physicality, sensitivity and sensuality.
Swing Project 1 begins from the observation that in a world where all ar-tistic disciplines are now so intrinsically linked that they blend together, contemporary art must now be approached as a philosophy of society and no longer in relation to the idea of form. The exhibition of Anna + Peter is conceived as a sort of 'mood board'. It introduces the following proposal: it is through exchange - and not through the object - that it is possible to experience the actual world and imagine other possibilities. Through this exhibition, Anna + Peter develop a sharp critique of postmodernist tactics that have led to the creation of a world wholly dedicated to consumption and communication, wherein the hybridity of forms matches their uselessness. Now, as they rightly remind us, "nothing useless can be truly beautiful".
Anna + Peter met in a gallery in Berlin in 2001 and soon started to col-laborate on works which have been shown in various art institutions and publications. They live and work together in London.
Anna Blessmann, was born in Berlin in 1969, and studied Fine Art at HdK in Berlin from 1989 to 1996. She has been living and working in London since 2002. She has had solo exhibitions at Achim Kubinski Gallery in Berlin and at Galerie Reinhard Hauff in Stuttgart, and has participated in group shows such as 37 Rooms, Kunstwerke, Berlin, Die Macht des Alters - Strategien der Meisterschaft et Come in and find out, vol. 2, Podewill, Berlin. Her work Has been featured in various publications and on record covers. She has also collaborated with designers Maurizio Altieri and Bless.
Born in Manchester in 1955, Peter Saville lives and works in London. He studied graphic design at Manchester Polytechnic from 1975-1978. In 1979, he became a founding partner of the independent record label Factory Records, where he created some of the most influential album covers of all time for Joy Division and New Order. Going on to work extensively in fashion and the cultural sector, his work is credited with significantly affecting the interplay between art and design. His achievements were celebrated in The Peter Saville Show at the Design Museum in London in 2003, an exhibition which then travelled to Tokyo and Manchester, and the Peter Saville Estate at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zurich in 2005. He is represented by Galerie Neu in Berlin, and the galleries Hotel and Paul Stolper in London.
With support from Champagne Taittinger.
To listen to Swing Soundtrack by Gillian + Stephen, click here
Public visits: sunday, june 13th, 20th, 27th; july 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th; august 1st, 8th, 15th at 4 pm Private visit for the friends of FRAC Champagne-Ardenne: monday, june 28th at 7 pm
British artist Dexter Dalwood has recently been shortlisted as one of the four nominees for the prestigious Turner Prize. Over the last decade Dexter Dalwood has been building a strong reputation in Europe and the States. His exhibition at the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne is his very first show in France. This selected survey, featuring major paintings and collages made over the last twelve years, will provide an important and timely opportunity to review his work.
Typically, Dalwood's works depict imagined and constructed interiors or land-scapes, usually devoid of figures, that act as memorials or descriptions of vari-ous historic people, places or moments. They draw on an idea of 'History Painting' as a genre and, like their illustrious antecedents, the quotations, allu-sions and references can be elusive and highly codified at first. But, like the grand eighteenth and nineteenth century works they allude to, the canvases have an immediacy, and power as paintings first and foremost. They range in subject from major political events like Ceaucescu’s Execution (2002), The Birth of the UN (2003) or Yalta (2006) to imagined places that are marked by some traumatic history or event, or which have simply become lodged in our collective cultural unconscious; these include Sharon Tate's House (1998), Neverland (1999), Greenham Common (2008) and Camp David (1999).
Other works are presented as 'portraits' of famous or infamous writers, artists and political figures like William Burroughs (2005), Diana Vreeland (2003), Truman Capote (2004) and Hunter S. Thompson (2009). These people populate our shared cultural memory, and for one reason or another seem to continue to exert a fascination or influence through both their work and their lives. Once again, these 'portraits' are produced by Dalwood through the constructed 'scenes' or 'sets' that he creates.
Almost all of Dalwood's paintings initially start out as small collages - composi-tions he assembles by literally cutting and pasting from the pages of magazines and art history. In the subsequent large-scale canvases the abrupt disjunctures and sharp, clinical edges, are faithfully reproduced, preserving the slightly unnerving, almost jarring quality at a sometimes exhilarating and monumental scale.
The way that Dalwood constructs his pictures, referencing and juxtaposing both image and content, is highly sophisticated. He weaves together personal, social and political histories with art history, popular culture and biography to produce provocative and complex new constellations of meaning. Dalwood's post-modern, post-pop 'history paintings' display a smart and seductive lightness of touch; an accessibility and wit offered through the shared experience of the collective political and cultural histories they invoke.Born in Bristol in 1960, Dexter Dalwood lives and works in London, UK. He studied at the Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, and then at the Royal College of Art in London.
Dexter Dalwood’s work has been presented in major exhibitions such as Die Young, Stay Pretty at the ICA in London in 1998 and Neurotic Realism: Part Two at the Saatchi Gallery in 1999. His work has also been shown at numerous venues, amongst which the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven and the Whitney Museum in New York. He has also participated in the 2002 Sydney Biennial and the 2003 Tate Triennial in London. He is represented by Gagosian Gallery (Athens/Beverly Hills/London/New York/Roma) and Alan Cristea Gallery (London).
Organised by Tate St Ives in association with the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne and CAC Málaga, where it will be presented from September 11th, 2010 to No-vember 28th, 2010.
A full colour monographic publication, co-edited by FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Tate St Ives and CAC Málaga, published by JRP Ringier and Tate Publishing, will accompany the exhibition. ISBN 978-3-03764-126-2. Price: 40 €.
Conference, Latifa Echakhch: thursday, april 8th at 6:00 pm, médiathèque Jean Falala Public visits: sunday, april 11th, 18th, 25th, and may 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd at 4 pm Visit for teachers: wednesday, april 21st at 2:30 pm Visit for students: thursday, april 29th at 6:30pm Private visit for the friends of frac champagne-ardenne: Monday, May 10th at 7 pm “Nuit des musées” visit: saturday, may 15th, from 8 pm to midnight
The works of Latifa Echakhch are a proof that art can be instrumental to exchange and social engagement without necessarily being patronizing or exploitative. While her sculptures are elegant and delicate, the visitor must nevertheless not be deceived by this sensibility when Echakhch examines subjects like culture, geography, and personal and collective histories. She explores these systems through mundane objects, images and ordinary situations, repositioning them in a social and political debate. Her work is not immediately comprehensible, but becomes clear to those who decide to explore it. Even so, the fact of looking at them more profoundly ultimately calls into question the certainties that they seemed to initially promise.
The visual and conceptual power of her combination of Minimalism and Romanticism is potent but misleading. What emerges is a fundamental belief in the dignity of the subjects and what art can bring in terms of reflection, even in its most critical form. Objects that begin as being banal, whether cubes of sugar, fragmented carpets, or broken tea glasses, then become messengers of feeling such as melancholy and anger, and offer a silent point of view on the failure of utopias.
The exhibition, Le rappel des oiseaux, which is presented at the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, is principally composed of new works, though a number of older works have been included, which are sometimes shown for the first time. The confrontation allows for a veritable exhibit narrative, in which each work draws inspiration from the preceding one and re-sponds to the next. The narrative emerges as visitors progress through the exhibition space, encountering a multitude of possibilities, according to their own personal references and lived experience.
Some of the works exude a deafening violence. They operate somewhere in between play and punishment, leaving the viewer in an ambivalent position, at once voyeuristic and somewhat ill at ease. In Dérobadimage, for instance, shot in 1999 in the Bois de Vincennes, the camera acts like a gun, while the image itself trembles as though being tracked by a predator. Similarly in Stoning (2010), there is an installation of a constellation of rocks in the main exhibition space of the Frac. It evokes both Jimmie Durham’s Stoning the Refrigerator (1996) and Land Art’s work of the ‘70s, while also resonating intensely with contemporary events. Skin (2010) is a nod to the famous “Skins Party” phenomenon of recent years in the adolescent world, in which young people dress up and get drunk in a regressive, no-limits atmosphere.
Untitled (Sepia) (2009) and Danse macabre (2010) offer moments of pause in the exhibition. They are more poetic and allusive propositions, and could even be qualified as contemporary still-lifes. Seuils (2004) is a very minimalistic intervention that modifies our perception of the exhibition space and allows us to understand it in a totally new way.
The installation Le thé de Saïd (2010) is exhibited on both levels of the Frac. It echoes the gesture of Saïd, Latifa Echakhch’s uncle, who used to place a little teapot under the drainpipe of the house in Khuribga, Morocco, where he lived and worked as a geologist. Once the teapot was full, he could then prepare his ‘special tea’. Echakhch, fascinated by this personal tradition, wanted to show a drainpipe capable of receiving rainwater and letting it accumulate in a small teapot. The length of the pipe, and the means used for creating the installation, intrigue by virtue of the size and delicateness of the teapot. It is this very ‘disproportion’ that lends the installation its poetry.
Finally, the benches in the courtyard of the Frac have been brought directly over from Kassel (Germany). They are a reminder of German Romanticism. Less spectacular than the incomparable panorama and perspective of the 18th century Wilhelmshöhe castle that overlooks Kassel, the Kasseler Parkbänke (2009) nevertheless offers an unprecedented take on Tom Burr’s Deep Purple, which is already exhibited in the courtyard of the Frac since 2008. Indeed, Latifa Echakhch considers it a full-fledged landscape in its own right.
Latifa Echakhch was born in 1974 in El Khnansa (Morocco). She lives and works in Paris and Martigny (Switzerland). She has had numerous solo exhibitions in France and abroad (Magasin, Grenoble; Tate Modern, London; Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel; Kunstverein, Bielefeld; Swiss Institute, New York), and her work also been shown in group exhibitions at the Sculpture Center in New York, the CAC in Vilnius, the Kunsthalle in Basel and the Kunsthaus in Zurich. She has also participated in Manifesta 7, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art in Bolzano in 2008 and the Lyon Biennial in 2009. Latifa Echakhch is represented by Kamel Mennour in Paris, Galleria Francesca Kaufmann in Milan, and Dvir Gallery in Tel Aviv.
Exhibition realized in collaboration with GAMeC - Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo (Italy) where it will be presented from October 2010.
With support from Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, founded in 1772
Acknowledgements: Serge Pugeault, Ludivine Esposito, City of Reims, Marie-Sophie Eiché, Dean Inkster, Anne-Bénédicte Quilici, Sabina Belli.
Private visit for the friends of FRAC Champagne-Ardenne: Monday, January 25th at 7:30 pm Visits for the general public: Sunday, January 18th, February 14th, and March 14th at 4pm Visit for students: Thursday, January 28th at 6:30pm Visit for teachers: Wednesday, February 3rd at 2:30 pm
Curator: Florence Derieux
Lili Reynaud Dewar explores the possibilities of “resistance” linked to eccentricity, this manner of thinking or speaking that is at a remove from commonplace norms. Half way between authenticity and simulation, she plays on the outer precipices of artifice, symbolism, and theatricality. Her performances are extravagant and have been precisely documented. They deal with themes such as the history of shorthand writers of the 20th century (The Power Structures, Rituals & Sexuality of European Shorthand Typists, 2009), the technological premices of cinema (Black Mariah, 2009), the vision of Egypt in Afrocentrism (En Réalité, le sphinx est-il une annexe du monument ou le monument une annexe du sphinx?, 2008), the history of brown slaves (The Center and the Eyes and Queen Mother Nanny of the Mountains, 2006), the life and work of Italian designer Ettore Sottsass (In Every Room There Is the Ghost of Sex, 2008). Though multiple historical references constantly feed into her work, she never-theless uses fiction and myths as veritable critical tools.
Taking antiteater for a title, Lili Reynaud Dewar’s exhibition at the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne is inspired by the unique functioning of the eponymous teater company created by Rainer Werner Fassbinder at the end of the 60’s. No role, apart from that of the director, was definitively assigned to the actors or to the technical crew, thus ensuring that no one’s status was securely established. By using this as the title of her exhibition, Reynaud Dewar calls into question the dynamics of power and authority emerging within the group of performers, with whom she has worked for several years. With them, she has created ‘finite happenings’, according to Marguerite Duras’ expression, in which she dramatically constrains the body, its actions, and its relationship to space, through sculpture. The title also recalls the origin of the exhibition, namely, a performance that took place last December 18th in a theatre in Reims, in which she gave a lecture on her work while excerpts of her previous performances were simultaneously performed onstage.
According to this same principle of “mise en abyme,” Dewar invites us to participate in a kind of play within a play, a technique made famous in Hamlet. Shakespeare’s play is precisely the one that profoundly intrigued Jorge Luis Borges, who notoriously developed a phobia of mirrors. The works shown on the ground floor of the Frac Champagne–Ardenne are placed in such a way as to create a play on mirrors. Lili Reynaud Dewar positions us at once as spectator and spectacle, suggesting that we are all actors in what no longer seems to be a fiction, but rather an ambitious and possible scenario.
Through this same re-staging and re-contextualisation of existing performances and sculptures within new works, Lili Reynaud Dewar seeks to bring out the continuity within her work. In one of the first-floor rooms is an ensemble of sculptures presented onstage at the Comédie de Reims theatre during her performance on December 18th, 2009: LOVE = U.F.O, Black Mariah and The Power Structures, Rituals & Sexuality of European Shorthand Typists are displayed as much as autonomous sculptures as proofs. This being said, she examines the question of documentation and traces, seeking to create an unprecedented, yet ambiguous format in which the film of the performance becomes the primary interest of the performance itself. She plays derisively upon the omnipresence of the artist (broadcasting her own voice into space, imposing projection reflected in an enormous mirror...), thus literally surrounding the visitor, even though this might create a certain impression of claustrophobia.
On the ground floor is also the third part of a series of works inaugurated last August at Mary Mary in Glasgow, which was extended during an exhibition at the Barriera Foundation in Turin in November. Beginning with the question of work and genre, but also the notion of transmission, The Power Structures, Rituals & Sexuality of European Shorthand Typists, stages the shorthand secretaries, practicing their now obsolete profession as though it were a ritual. In an new video, specially produced for the exhibition, Lili Reynaud Dewar isolates the hands and legs of the per-formers, accentuating the idea of ‘amenuensis,’ a Latin term for the slave entrusted with transcribing his master’s thoughts.
Lili Raynaud-Dewar was born in La Rochelle in 1975. She lives and works in Paris. She is an artist as well as an art critic. She also teaches at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, and co-edits Pétunia, a journal of feminist contemporary art, the first issue of which was published in June, 2009. Her work has been exhibited most notably at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the SBC Gallery in Montreal, the Fondazione Barriera in Turin, the Printemps de septembre in Toulouse, the Galleria Civica d’Arte Contemporanea in Syracusa, the 5th Berlin Biennial, and the 9th Lyon Biennial. Lili Raynaud Dewar is represented by Kamel Mennour in Paris, and Mary Mary in Glasgow.
With the support of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, founded in 1772