Opening on January 26th from 6 pm
Curator : Antoine Marchand
Caroline Achaintre works across a diverse range of media that includes textiles, ceramics, woodcuts and watercolours, using techniques typically associated with the applied arts. Her sculptures, wall hangings, drawings and paintings are colourful and potent, evoking the subversive spirit of European carnival, and creating an atmosphere that is simultaneously playful and absurd. Citing German Expressionism, post-war British sculpture and Primitivism as influences, there are also references to more contemporary sub-cultural strands of sci-fi, the Goth-metal scene, psychedelia and horror films.
Drawing is the foundation of Achaintre’s practice. Working with watercolor, ink, woodcuts and linocuts, her drawings oscillate between the abstract and the figurative, showing colored and murky compositions that recall the shape of a face, like a series of ghostly portraits. Recent works use latex and wax to mask out rose-pink and pistachio-green harlequin patterns, over which inky ice-cream coloured spectres seem to float.
Achaintre’s sketches also continue to underpin her textile and ceramic works. Often taking the form of playful ceramic masks, the artist’s sculptures are made from fired and glazed paper clay, where the material is folded and refolded to create delicate structures. The process of making is spontaneous, often a quick gesture of gathering the clay so it warps. The ceramic masks bear crude facial expressions or grimaces, evoking the primitive and the carnivalesque.
Interested in the dialogue between an object and its display, Achaintre explores this in her installations by assembling her ceramic sculptures on custom-made modular structures. The artist has compared her installations to an ethnological museum displays in which objects are displaced from their function and place of origin, and brought into a contemporary context.
Achaintre’s richly coloured textile wall hangings are made by hand-tufting wool into a widely woven canvas base, a labor-intensive process which she likens to painting with wool. The artist uses a tufting gun to shoot woolen thread through canvas. The length, texture and color of each thread takes on the qualities of an expressionist painting. Achaintre likens the process of making these works to ‘painting with wool’.
The FRAC Champagne-Ardenne exhibition will explore the breath of Achaintre’s practice, comprising a selection of work from the last decade together with work made especially for the exhibition including a large-scale textile work, ceramic sculptures and a body of new drawings.
The exhibition will be accompanied by the artist’s first monograph with scholarly texts by Anne Dressen, Curator at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Zoë Gray, Senior Curator at WIELS, Brussels, as well as an interview between the artist and Emma Dean, Curator at BALTIC.
Caroline Achaintre (born Toulouse, 1969) spent her formative years in Germany studying Fine Art at Kunsthochschule in Halle/Saale (1996-98), with her postgraduate Studies in Fine Art and Combined Media at Chelsea College of Art & Design, London (1998-2000) and a MA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London (2001-03). She trained as a blacksmith before coming to London, where she now lives and works. Caroline Achaintre is represented by Arcade, London.
Recent exhibitions include: Present/Future Illy Art Prize, Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea (2014); BP Spotlight at Tate Britain, London (2014); Camp Coo, University of Hertfordshire Galleries and Smith Row, Hertfordshire and Bury St. Edmunds (2013); DEEDIE, The Showroom, London (2005); Quarters, Whitechapel Project Space (2004). In 2014, Achaintre was artist in residence at Camden Arts Centre (and Japan in 2015). She is currently showing work in the British Art Show 8, organized by Hayward Touring.
Exhibition organised by BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead.
Caroline Achaintre’s exhibition has received support from Fluxus, A Franco-British Programme for Contemporary Art.
Curator: Antoine Marchand
The FRAC will be closed from August 1st to August 23rd 2016
Nate Lowman has created both pictorial and sculptural pieces which are a testimony to the American society. His work involves mingling current events with cultural references to pop culture detritus, through collages, installations and painting. His creations are the result of a very particular technique which is actually similar to xerography printing. In the last few years, he has exploited images as well as everyday objects from disparate universes and eras in order to mingle cultural references without following any hierarchical logic. However, Nate Lowman’s work goes beyond copying and recycling styles used by Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol in their time, or more recently, Richard Prince. Nate Lowman’s main focus is storytelling. Among his heterogeneous compositions, no image takes priority over another; the relations between images create a potential storyboard. The artist is not trying to create a unique narrative structure as much as intertwining iconographic references that echo as a whole in this day and age. Neither innocent, or particularly ambiguous, Nate Lowman’s works are sometimes of a violent tone as well as being melancholic and pessimistic, while also reflecting irony and dark humor.
For his exhibition World of Interiors at the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, which will be the first in a French public institution, Nate Lowman will present a selection of artworks which have never been seen before and were created for this occasion. These art pieces will also reveal the new direction he has taken in his work. As a matter of fact, the paintings on view here were created in response to the architecture of the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne’s renovated building, all the while reflecting the place they were produced, in Nate Lowman’s art studio in Tribeca. Irony is a defining feature of Nate Lowman’s who had also considered balancing his exhibition between indoors and outdoors, creativity and recycling, as well as nature and culture.
Since his first monographic exhibition in 2005 at the Maccarone gallery in New York City (THE END. And Other American Pastimes), Nate Lowman’s (born in 1979 in Las Vegas; lives and works in New York) work was featured at the Museum of Modern Art, at the Solomon R. Guggenhheim Museum and at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which are all located in New York, as well as in Paris at the Palais de Tokyo and in Venice at the Palazzo Grassi. He had solo shows at Midway Contempary Art in Minneapolis (Axis of Praxis, 2006), at the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo (The Natriot Act, 2009), at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center in Greenwich (I Wanted to Be an Artist but all I got was this Lousy Career, 2012) and at Dallas Contemporary (America Sneezes, 2015). His art work was also featured in the 12th Biennale de Lyon (Entretemps... Brusquement, et ensuite, 2013) as well as in the Empire State Exhibition (Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, 2013). Nate Lowman is represented by the Massimo De Carlo galleries in London, Milan and Hong-Kong as well as the Maccarone gallery in New York.
The Nate Lowman exhibition has received support from the gallery Massimo De Carlo, Milan/London/Hong Kong.
With support from Champagne Taittinger
Opening on Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 6 pm, in the presence of the artist
A Procession will go from the Reims Cathedral to the FRAC on Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 11 am
Curator: Florence Derieux
Lara Schnitger’s visual language consists of sculpture, clothing and performance in a hybrid space, with references to politics, womanhood, feminism, sexuality, but also street fashion or graffiti. Her work explores the intersections between academic arts and crafts traditions as well as urban practices that involve music, fashion, theater, performance. Schnitger creates intense environments on the brink of collapse. In her free-standing volumetric forms, the artist applies a basic system of stretching an array of hosiery and fabrics over joined sticks of wood. The tensile force of the textile keeps the wooden framework firmly in place. A conversation between materials exists in the artist’s work, and it stimulates a relationship between membrane and structure, endowing the forms with human characteristics. It has been said that the instability of Schnitger's work comes from "its will to live, its wild over-extension and daring stance."
For her first solo exhibition in France, Lara Schnitger presents a series of new works specifically created for the show as well as recent productions, which constitute Suffragette City (2015), a provocative installation consisting of brightly colored tapestries, floating banners and freestanding sculptures composed of fabric and wood. Both a celebration of feminity and a brash political statement, the work plays with the language of radical feminist movements to address issues of gender, identity and sexuality. The installation will come to life as a public demonstration in the streets around Reims’ Cathedral, where participants will carry the installation’s sculptures, banners and ‘Slut Sticks’ to form a procession of artworks. By taking her work off the gallery walls and putting it in the hands of the public, Lara Schnitger playfully explores the line between art and protest.
Lara Schnitger (born in 1969 in Haarlem, Netherlands ; lives and works in Los Angeles and Amsterdam) has recently had solo shows at Bonnefanten Newseum in Maastricht (Beating around the Bush Episode #2 and #4,2014) and at Sculpture Center in New York (Lara Schnitger: Two Masters and Her Vile Perfume, 2010). Her work has also been shown worldwide, at Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall (To be continued…, 2007), at Santa Monica Museum of Art (Follow Me: A Fantasy, 2005) and at UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (THING, New Sculpture from Los Angeles, 2005). Lara Schnitger has also participated in the Liverpool Biennale in 1999 and the Shanghai Biennale in 2002.
Lara Schnitger is represented by Anton Kern Gallery in New York, Stuart Shave / Modern Art in London and Galerie Gebr Lehmann in Dresden and Berlin.
With Support of Mondriaan Fund.
FRAC Champagne-Ardenne would like to thank Delphine Quéreux-Sbaï and the staff at Médiathèque Jean Falala, in Reims, for their support in the organization of Lara Schnitger's procession.
Opening on Thursday, June 25th, 2015 at 6 pm, in the presence of the artist
Curator: Florence Derieux
To mark its re-opening, the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne will be presenting the very first solo show in France of the American artist Lisa Oppenheim. Her art praxis is situated directly in the tradition of conceptual photography, the artists of the “Pictures Generation”, and American structuralist cinema. She is interested, most particularly, in the history of photography and its pioneers, as well as the development of its techniques over time. Her works often involve a relation between the original photographic process of found photography and the process which the artist introduces in her use of this latter. A kind of photographic exhumation making it possible for past and present to inform each other.
Lisa Oppenheim’s photographs and videos are created from existing images and documents which she appropriates, re-works and transforms using different historical and contemporary techniques. Her work process often finds its source in the Internet, where she looks for images and objects which she photographically re-interprets by using both analog and digital technologies. Through this approach, with the process itself becoming the basic material, the artist offers new forms and new contexts to photographic images.
Over the past ten years, she has thus produced a body of works which explore the use of the image—historical, present-day, documentary…—in our contemporary societies, a method which might be described as an “archaeology of time and visual culture”.
For her show at the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, called Hereditary Language, Lisa Oppenheim will be presenting two works, specifically produced by the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne. The first one, Hereditary Language, is a film structured around an eponymous sound piece by Les Levine, in which children are talking about their anxieties about life, and the future. The second one is an ambitious photographic installation, echoing a series of paintings created by Ann Craven during her residency in Reims, in 2008, and presented in her monographic exhibition at the FRAC the same year. A set of works produced in collaboration with the Hamburger Kunstverein and the Grazer Kunstverein, as well as older works, will also be on view.
A first monograph devoted to her work, titled Works 2003–2013 and co-produced by the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, the Hamburger Kunstverein and the Grazer Kunstverein, has just been published by the Sternberg Press.
Lisa Oppenheim (born in 1975 in New York, where she lives and works) has recently had solo shows at the Hamburger Kunstverein (Forever is Composed of Nows, 2014), at the Grazer Kunstverein (From Abigail to Jacob (Works 2004–2014), 2014) and at the Göttingen Kunstverein (Everyone’s Camera, 2013). Her work has also been shown in many major exhibitions, including The New Photographyat The Museum of Modern Art and the ICP Triennial 2013 at the International Center of Photography, in New York, both in 2013. In 2015, she will take part in two important shows, one at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the other at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. In October 2014, she was awarded two major international photographic prizes, the Aimia | AGO Photography, Ontario, Canada, and the Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography, Jerusalem, Israel.
Lisa Oppenheim is represented by The Approach gallery in London, Juliette Jongma Gallery in Amsterdam, and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York.
With support from Champagne Pommery, Champagne Taittinger and Maison Fossier
Opening on thursday september 27 from 6pm
Curator: Florence Derieux
Plamen Dejanoff (born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1970; lives and works in Vienna) explores links between art and the economy, developing a work that is half way between the capitalist strategies of a globalized world and an ironic and disillusioned critique of the art world. He questions the role of the artist in contemporary society. This way of thinking, as well as the means that he uses to develop and exhibit it, render him atypical. Indeed, since the beginning of the 1990s, Dejanoff has managed to define his own space in the domain of art by infiltrating those of business and communication.
The Bronze House is Plamen Dejanoff’s most ambitious project to date. He began in 2006 with the presentation of Planets of Comparison, developed for Veliko Tarnovo, a charming medieval city that today still harbours traces of its glorious past as the capital of the Bulgarian Second Empire. Dejanoff acquired seven houses in the historical centre with the intention of transforming them, aided by architects, into spaces that would house Bulgarian branches of prestigious international institutions. The original intention has since evolved due to economic and/ or administrative, but also conceptual realities. It has become a much more ambitious and complex project with Dejanoff playing multiple roles of manager, curator, architect, designer, collector, etc. Today, the land allotments have to allow for various infrastructures, all executed in bronze, including a library, a cinema, a theatre, an exhibition space and workshops.
The Bronze House is the first of these architectural installations, a veritable inhabitable structure taking the form of a colossal villa of more than 600 square metres. Upon completion of the construction, these “house-sculptures” will be composed of different modules in bronze, executed according to extremely specialised engineering criteria, even though the production is entirely realised through traditional craftsmanship. The facade, ground floor, doors, walls and stairs, indeed the entire ensemble of elements bringing all the different parts together will all be executed in the same way. The progression of the house’s construction is the central theme of this exhibition, which has already been shown at the MUMOK, Museum of Modern Art, and the MAK, the Museum of Applied Arts and Contemporary Art of Vienna (Austria), at the Kunstverein in Hamburg (Germany) and at the MAMbo, Museum of Modern Art of Bologna (Italy). In order to finance the project, Plamen Dejanoff has created a foundation that he promotes by means of a highly developed marketing strategy. Today, the success of this adventure depends on an international network of partners (artists, museum directors, collectors, entrepreneurs and gallery owners, etc.).
The choice of a material such as bronze, a classic medium in art, although unconventional in architecture, represents a challenge both in terms of construction, but also in terms of production. Each element is a veritable work of art, similar to the others only in appearance. The technique of assembling the elements evokes the decorative motifs embellishing wooden houses in this region of Bulgaria; it is the expression of an organic vernacular architecture described by Le Corbusier in his book Le Voyage d’Orient. The repetition and vertical progression of these elements that are a priori identical are also inspired by the Constantine Brancusi’s famed Colonne sans fin created in 1938, and installed in a park in the Romanian villa of Targu Jiu. This sculpture – a cast of nearly 30 metres in height – is defined by its absence of a centre, a beginning or end, using the form of the wooden pillars that support traditional Romanian houses, symbolising infinity. Another important reference for Plamen Dejanoff is the Chinati Foundation created by Donald Judd in the 1970s in Marfa, Texas. There, the American artist founded an artistic community in order to enable the creation of artworks that would normally be impossible to create in classic exhibition spaces. With this project, Plamen Dejanoff seems to want to follow in the same direction, but with the purpose of creating a veritable artistic community in Veliko Tarnovo. Though the city is very important historically (it has been recognised as a world heritage monument by Unesco), it is not very large, and its architecture has hardly evolved since Le Corbusier created his designs there around 1911. Plamen Dejanoff has imagined a very sophisticated strategy of “branding”, not without irony, in order to make it one of the most attractive destinations of Bulgaria, using the slogan “Where the Future Meets the Past”.
The exhibition presented at the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne places the accent on the genesis of the project for Veliko Tarnovo. It brings together numerous models and prototypes, but also sketches, drawings and other collages illustrating the enormity of the work prior to construction. It also illustrates the installations, somewhere between conceptual art and “Hyper-Pop Art” under the registered brand name of “Dejanoff”, presented as objects for sale more than as objects exhibited in a museum. This unique ensemble is completed with a series of original drawings by Le Corbusier.
The Plamen Dejanoff exhibition has received support from Emanuel Layr gallery, Vienna.
Exhibition organized with the MAMbo, Bologna Museum of Modern Art.
With support from Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Maison founded in 1772
Opening: February 2 2012 from 6 pm
Curator: Florence Derieux
The philosophical, political and psychoanalytic concepts form the very essence of Emily Wardill's films. They retrace a history of thought by means of multiple narrations, embellished with numerous soundtracks composed by the artist. Her filmic grammar is mysterious, to say the least, because the classic codes of interpretation are obsolete. We therefore have to penetrate into what seems to be a fascinating representation of the unconscious. Several levels of narration intertwine, often evoking Fassbinderian forms of melodrama, and allowing us to associate an eminently political idea with more popular visual references. All of her work thus seems to be a vast scientific experiment that catapults the spectator into a suspension between the initial premise and the final result, there, where the irrational becomes a requirement for being able to understand a given situation.
For her first exhibition in a French institution, entitled The Hands Of A Clock, Even When Out Of Order, Must Know And Let The Dumbest Little Watch Know Where They Stand, Otherwise Neither Is A Dial But Only A White Face With A Trick Mustache, Emily Wardill notably presents her latest film, Fulll Firearms (90', HD), commissioned by If I Can't Dance, I Don't Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution (Amsterdam), Serpentine Gallery (London) and Film London's FLAMIN Productions, and co-produced by Arts Council England - Film London Artists' Moving Image Network and City Projects (London) with support from M HKA (Antwerp), Badischer Kunstverein (Karlsruhe), FRAC Champagne-Ardenne (Reims), the Culture Programme of the European Commission (Brussels) and the Mondrian Foundation (Amsterdam).
Emily Wardill's new long form film utilizes the form of the melodrama to tell the story of Imelda, a woman in her 40s who inherits a fortune from her father, a successful arms manufacturer. With her inheritance she sets about building a house to accommodate the ghosts of the people killed by weapons produced by her father's company. Whilst the house is being built a number of people move in and squat the half finished property. Imelda's perception of the squatters is skewed - she isn't hostile to their presence because she simply sees them as the ghosts she expected. The film's narrative is built around the relationship between Imelda and the architect she hires to design the house. He indulges her every whim despite being aware that she is delusional. Fulll Firearms cleverly interlaces the themes of deception, storytelling and displacement. Elements related to the film complete the exhibition.
The exhibition also introduces the film The Pips, 2011, (3 min 39 sec, 16mm) as well as a series of sculptural digital prints of silk related to this fascinating work. The Pips explores movement and the materiality of it, the instigation of one and the duration of the other. Shot in black and white on 16mm, then transferred to a digital projection, this film focuses on British gymnastics champion, Francesca Jones. The film begins with a straight depiction of Jones' routine; the patterns created by her ribbon baton trace her movements in the air. It is a reflection of her actions, imitating her and existing because of her. Near the end of the film, the gymnast's body becomes stretched, elongated and distorted ultimately breaking into a series of mutant parts. Her face remains unfathomed and she gives no acknowledgement to her own decay. As Jones's becomes still, her actions take on their own identity; their materiality deconstructed by Wardill's emphasis on the physical replication of movement. The body and its motions become contained in the object, revealing an inherent plasticity in the gymnast's performance.
Born in Rugby (the United Kingdom) in 1977, Emily Wardill lives and works in London, where she is Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martins College of Art. Over the last years, she has produced important monographic exhibitions, including Windows broken, Break, Broke Together in 2010 at the De Appel Foundation in Amsterdam, and Sick Serena and Dregs and Wreck and Wreck in 2007 at the ICA in London. Her work has also been exhibited at the Tate Britain and the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, Witte de With in Rotterdam, Kunsthalle Basel, and the Reykjavik Art Museum. She is represented by Jonathan Viner Gallery (London), Standard (Oslo) and Altman Siegel Gallery (San Fransisco).
Emily Wardill's exhibition has received support from Fluxus, the Franco-British fund for contemporary art, the British Council and Standard, Oslo.
With support from Champagne Pommery
Dix ans après sa toute première exposition personnelle, présentée au FRAC Champagne-Ardenne en 1999, Laurent Montaron investit à nouveau ses espaces d’exposition pour y présenter un ambitieux projet monographique réunissant une série d’œuvres inédites, réalisées spécialement à cette occasion.
Le titre de l’exposition, AYYLU, fait référence au code morse, qui permet de transmettre un texte grâce à une série d’impulsions courtes et longues. Cet alphabet attribue à chaque lettre, chiffre et signe de ponctuation une combinaison unique de signaux, mécaniques ou visuels, plus ou moins brefs. Parallèlement au code morse, des codes commerciaux ont été inventés pour la télégraphie, tels AYYLU qui signifie « Not clearly coded, repeat more clearly » (pas assez clair, veuillez répéter plus clairement). Chacune des œuvres présentées dans cette exposition décline la problématique du langage et de sa transmission via différentes tech-nologies, qu’elles soient ancestrales ou au contraire contemporaines.
Balbvtio, film co-produit avec l’Institut d’art contemporain de Villeurbanne*, est une œuvre inédite composée de deux films identiques projetés côte à côte. Elle constitue une narration cinématographique, mais également une mise à distance de la rhétorique même du cinéma. Générés par deux prises de vues différentes, ces films placent le contenu de l’histoire sur un autre plan que celui de la matérialité de l’image. L’histoire évoque de manière allégorique le message et le lien que tisse la parole avec l’Esperanto. Conçue à la fin du 19e siècle par le docteur Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof, l’Esperanto est une langue dont la syntaxe est basée sur des langues déjà existantes, dans le but de faciliter la communication et la compréhension entre des individus de diverses nationalités.
L’intérêt de Laurent Montaron pour le cinéma apparaît ainsi en filigrane dans sa pratique. Depuis la série Sous un nouveau jour, qu’il avait pré-sentée au FRAC Champagne-Ardenne à l’automne 1999, cet intérêt s’est constamment développé au travers d’images, d’objets et de dispositifs, à l’instar du film 16mm Key, réalisé spécialement pour cette exposition.
Le travail de Laurent Montaron montre, tout en les interrogeant, les habitudes et les mécanismes qui régissent notre regard. Il souligne ainsi la manière dont les outils façonnent nos représentations et indexent de façon tangible la manière dont se construit la pensée. Dans cette perspective, le réel voisine l’imaginaire.
Le film Balbvtio, oeuvre coproduite par le FRAC Champagne-Ardenne et l'Institut d'art contemporain de Villeurbanne, y est également présenté du 28 janvier au 15 mars 2009. http://www.i-art-c.org
Commissaire de l'exposition: Florence Derieux
Curator: Florence Derieux
Works by Saâdane Afif, John Bock, Martin Boyce, Chris Burden, Tom Burr, Stéphane Calais, Claude Closky, Erik Dietman, Willie Doherty, Jimmie Durham, Eric Duyckaerts, Robert Filliou, Ceal Floyer, Michel François, Aurélien Froment, Jef Geys, Dan Graham, Rodney Graham, Raymond Hains, Richard Hamilton & Dieter Roth, Lothar Hempel, Pierre Huyghe, Matthew Day Jackson, Alain Jacquet, Pierre Joseph, Michel Journiac, Robert Malaval, Christian Marclay, Laurent Montaron, Matt Mullican, Philippe Ramette, Joe Scanlan, Ger Van Elk, Julia Wachtel, Jeff Wall, James Welling, Franz West.
Works by Eric Duyckaerts, Robert Filliou, Alain Jacquet, Cristian Lapie, Philippe Mayaux, Gustav Metzger, Laurent Montaron, Thierry Perthuisot, Jacqueline Salmon, Joëlle Tuerlinckx, Angel Vergara