Flash News: Fred Forest at Beaubourg – Biennale of Contemporary Art in Lyon – Max Ernst

[11 Aug 2017]

Fred Forest at Beaubourg

Known for his critical multimedia works as well as his performances and honoured with the Grand Prize in Communication at the 12th Biennale of Contemporary Art in Sao Paulo, Fred FOREST has so far deliberately kept away from the art market and maintained tense relations with Beaubourg. But it is here that an exhibition is devoted to him, encompassing 40 years of works based on the theme of territory.

Until now, Fred Forest’s relationship with the honourable Parisian institution was founded on the art of controversy. The « resistant » artist, as he calls himself, promoter of sociological and participatory art, has taken the Pompidou Centre to court on several occasions in the past, demanding that the prices of works bought for the museum’s collections be made public. In the middle of the 1990s, Fred Forest wrote to Germain Viatte, then director of the MNAM (National Museum of Modern Art), asking him for the purchase price of a work by Hans HAACKE, entitled Shapolski 1971. His request was rejected by the Council of State in favour of Beaubourg, on the grounds that publicizing the « special » prices, usually enjoyed by museums could have a negative impact on the art market. Fred Forest revived the controversy in 2011 over the acquisition by the same museum regarding a work by Tino Sehgal reactivating the debate of the value of works of art on the market and the transparency of prices paid by museums, again without obtaining a positive outcome.

Refusing to sell his work on the art market, Fred Forest constantly questions its methods. His work, Le mètre carré artistique notably questioned the relationship between the art market and real estate through the creation of a « real estate civil company based on artistic square meterage ». The notions of market value and territory are thus at the heart of the work presented this summer at the Pompidou Centre (July12th – August 28th, 2017), which welcomes the artist under special conditions, at his own request. The exhibition has also been personally financed by the artist.

The 14th Biennale of Contemporary Art in Lyon

Entitled Mondes flottants (Floating Worlds), the 14th edition of the Biennale of Contemporary Art in Lyon is overseen by Emma Lavigne, director of the Pompidou Centre-Metz and guest curator. She gives her vision of modernity for this second part of the trilogy devoted to the term « Modern ». To do this, the Biennale organises events in the centre of Lyon, where water is ubiquitous, like an invitation to travel within an archipelago of small islands. With more than sixty international guest artists, the event initiates a dialogue between the modern and the contemporary. Indeed, for the first time, masterpieces of Modern Art (from the Pompidou Centre, Grenoble, Saint-Étienne and Lyon’s MAC collections) will be exhibited alongside contemporary installations. It therefore seems perfectly natural to observe certain temporal similarities, however tenuous they may be, Hans ARP is, for example, exhibited alongside Ernesto NETOLucio FONTANA with Julien Creuzet, and the imposing structure by Richard Buckminster-Fuller entitled The Dome houses an installation by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot.

The majority of Mondes flottants will be on show at La Sucrière and at the Contemporary Art Museum in Lyon. The Institute of Contemporary Art in Villeurbanne also plays a supporting role with Rendez-vous 17, an exhibition devoted to emerging artists, with Veduta and Résonance platforms on show throughout the region, as well as associated exhibitions by Lee Ufan at the Tourette Convent and Lee Mingwei at the Bullukian Foundation, as well as Performances parallèles at the MAGASIN in Grenoble.

Opening on 20 September 20 and running until 7 January, this Biennale gives visitors a poetic, immersive and multi-sensory vision of the world, a dreamlike escape from disturbing current events…

New Max Ernst exhibition opening soon at MoMA, New York

Beyond Painting is the approach chosen by MoMA for an exhibition dedicated to Max ERNST, which will be held from 23 September 2017 to 1 January 2018. The title of the exhibition is particularly appropriate, for Ernst’s work explores all sorts of experiments « beyond » painting.

Exploration of textures and materials, transformation of forms, constant testing of the elements of reality… Ernst absorbed the « true » reality to transform it through his paintings, drawings, engravings, collages and dream-like rubbings. A Surrealist alchemist, he used experimentation, fragmentation and distortion, displacement and hybridization, as well as illusion, to create impossible yet familiar worlds, evoking dreams or lives experienced in another dimension. The disturbing strangeness that feeds the artist’s visual enigmas is reinforced by his enigmatic titles. A poet of images, he also played with words: The Gramineous Bicycle Garnished with Bells the Dappled Fire Damps and the Echinoderms Bending the Spine to Look for Caresses… such is the narrative and meaningless title of a drawing from 1921 selected by MoMA with a hundred works from its collection for the exhibition starting in September.