Ben Vautier, Jeter Dieu à la mer (1962), featured at Exhibition: Le Temps de L’action/Acte 1 at Villa Arson Nice
Saturday, June 25th welcomed thousands of viewers to the French Riviera, where the work of local artists was unveiled for the long-awaited opening of L’Art Contemporain et la Côte d’Azur: Un territoire pour l’expérimentation, 1951-2011. Artists “whose work was built or continues to flourish significantly” on the French Riviera are featured in the region’s major summer event, which features 1,000 works by over 200 painters, sculptors and media artists who have flocked to work in the French Riviera since 1951, including notables such as Yves Klein, Hans Hartung and Ellsworth Kelly.
More text and images after the jump…
Devoted to 60 years of contemporary art, the French Riviera exhibitions were organized by local museums, galleries, and cultural institutions and takes place in over 50 arts venues across the entire region of the French Riviera. It is singular in the region as far as scale and lends an unparalleled level of exposure to many of its participating artists. For its three-and-a-half month run, through November 7th, emerging and eminent artists alike have come together in a variety of venues–from community centers and art schools to museums, foundations, and galleries–to form a unique dynamic dedicated to the evolution of art in the region, designated “the Land of Experimentation.”
Philippe Ramette, Exploration rationnelle des fonds sous-marins : le contact (2006), via Nice Côte d’Azur – Ville de Nice
The last time the Riviera exhibited on this scale was in 1997, when 30 institutions in the Alpes-Maritimes organized “Riviera and Modernity: 1918-1958,” which showed works from prominent artists including Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, Picabia, Van Dongen, Dufy, Chagal, Duchamp, Man Ray, and Cocteau. The current exhibition, even larger than the last, aims to transcend the traditional points of reference between various artistic movements by exhibiting an array of artistic approaches and a diversity of works, enabling viewers to make new connections and comparisons simply because of the unique heterogeneity of the selection.
Eric Duyckaerts et Jean-Pierre Khazem, The Dummy’s Lesson (2000), via Nice Côte d’Azur – Ville de Nice
The exhibition’s organizers have described the show as one which intends “montrer qu’au delà des clichés habituels”–to show beyond the usual clichés. The contemporary art dynamic, they say, is reinventing itself over time and the exhibition hopes to show this evolution while taking into account the sociological and political conditions in which the work was created. Participating institutions range from modest Riviera gallery spaces to the much more frequented MAMAC – Nice, the National Center of Contemporary Art – Villa Arson (Nice), and the Château de Villeneuve. These diverse organizations have chosen to collaborate and highlight what they collectively believe to be the most discussed subjects and media since 1951, and includes painting, video, performance, sound, and architecture.
The exhibitors have echoed as inspiration the words of art historian André Chastel, who described the Riviera as the «grand atelier de l’art»–“the grand art studio”–as they continue on to christen it «un territoire pour l’expérimentation». The organizers have published a book in both French and English versions commemorating the exhibition as well as a comprehensive exhibition guide edited by DE L’ART.
Bernard Pagès, Le grand scarabée (2008), via Nice Côte d’Azur – Ville de Nice
Natacha Lesueur, MA (2006), via Nice Côte d’Azur – Ville de Nice
Virginie Le Touze, Insomnie (2003), (Video, 5min), via Nice Côte d’Azur – Ville de Nice
Noël Dolla, Grand étendoir aux serpillères (1967-1999), via Nice Côte d’Azur – Ville de Nice