Contemporary French Art 1. Eleven Studies.
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Ben Vautier, Niki De Saint Phalle, François Morellet, Louise Bourgeois, Alexandre Hollan, Claude Viallat, Sophie Calle, Bernard Pagès, Jean-Pierre Pincemin, Annette Messager, Gérard Titus-Carmel: eleven major French artists of the last forty years or so, examined in the light of their uniqueness and their rootedness, the specificities of their differing and at times overlapping plastic practices and the swirling and often highly hybridised conceptions entertained in regard to such practices. Thus does analysis range from discussion of the feisty, Fluxus-inspired, free-spirited funkiness of Ben Vautier’s work to the various modes of transcendence of trauma and haunting fear generated by the exceptional gestures of Niki de Saint Phalle and Louise Bourgeois, to the alyrical formalism yet imbued with irony and ludicity of François Morellet, through to the serene intensities of Alexandre Hollan’s vies silencieuses, the infinite a-signatures of Claude Viallat’s adventure in the sheer joy of a poiein of self-reflexive coloration, the powerfully elegant and muscular disarticulations of Bernard Pagès’ sculpture, the great sweep through art’s history implied by Jean-Pierre Pincemin’s chameleon-like gestures, the vast swirling programme of socio-psychological analysis the arts of Annette Messager and Sophie Calle offer in their radically distinctive manners, the obsessively serialised oeuvre of Gérard Titus-Carmel allowing a burrowing deep into the opaque logic of a real though dubious ‘presence to the world’.
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