Summer 2013: Under the name Nouvelles Vagues, the Parisian Institution Palais de Tokyo is turning over its programming to a team of 19 young Curators whose offerings challenge the exhibition commissionership and testify to their ability to imagine new ways of relating to art.
The Comité Professionnel des Galeries d'Art (CPGA) has decided to join in this project.
Around thirty Parisian galleries, selected by a committee, have invited curators to design exhibitions for their respective spaces that offer new ways of looking at their field of activity.
The Malingue gallery sees this proposal as a fascinating opportunity to examine contemporary echoes of works by some of its historic collection of artists.
The historian and art critic Arnauld Pierre has thus designed a project-one centered around works by Vidya Gastaldon and Hugues Reip-that sketches out some possible lines of descent from a few of the most remarkable Pont-Aven School, Nabis, and Symbolist artists (Paul Sérusier, Charles Filiger, Émile Bernard, Odilon Redon, etc.).
Arnauld Pierre's Proposal for the Malingue gallery:
In what sort of landscape is the viewer of this Émile Bernard picture (painted in 1892) voyaging? Les Falaises d'Yport (The Cliffs of Yport), its title informs us. Yet our gaze instructs us otherwise. Boulders jut out in breathtakingly high curves and seem to dance; the cliff walls themselves are lit with a pink light that contrasts with the unmodulated blues and greens of the sea; a reddish cow and the dress of a peasant woman stand out as vivid spots against the brownish hue of the meadow. Our gaze sways and ripples in rhythm with the lines of the picture, and our perceptual apparatus reels at the threshold of another reality. For, these distorted lines and these extravagant chromatic aberrations constitute the shapes of an inner landscape, these shapes being altered by the production of different states of consciousness. This is a world the Nabis had explored along paths marked by personal asceticism as they skillfully mixed traditional piety with deviant religiosity, Theosophy and Occultism. Pay no attention to the soppy sentimentality of today's historiography: the Nabis were genuine psychonauts; they forced open the doors of perception with the key of Mysticism and attained an inner world transfigured by the danse of lines and the vibration of chromatic energy flows. Belonging to an era-that of Hippolyte Taine, Paul Souriau, and Henri Bergson-that posed the question of perception in terms of suggestion and hallucination, they raised the role of art so that it might be included among the numerous ecstatic methods that have the capacity to bring the viewer toward other levels of consciousness.
The Psychonautes project aims at establishing a connection between a significant set of Nabi works and those of two present-day "psychonauts," Hugues Reip and Vidya Gastaldon. With Deep Night Music, Reip casts his gaze into deep waters and from there brings back reports of visions that owe as much to Redon as to Öyvind Fahlström. The hallucinogenic mushrooms of Mushbook (done in homage to William S. Burroughs) are perhaps the cause of these numerous works of his-sculptures, drawings, and videos-that continuously invent new metaphors of the organic world in which the kingdoms of life mingle together, as do their settings: air, earth, water, and fire. The eye motif, so dear to Redon, becomes in Gastaldon's work the generative center for new metamorphoses he himself will be the first to contemplate. Here we have the eye of creation, the one with which nature is endowed in order to become conscious of itself, amid flows of cortical energy and neurological explosions that are expressed in fluid-like colors and the artist's own ethereal lines: the cosmic spectacle is in your brain, the eye being the organ that brings on the trance state. Reip and Gastaldon are the present-day representatives of a visionary form of art that, without concealing its Pop influences (mangas and comic strips), returns to its Symbolist sources.
List of Artists Presented
Vidya Gastaldon (née en 1974)
Hugues Reip (né en 1964)
Emile Bernard (1868-1941)
Maurice Denis (1870-1943)
Charles Filiger (1863-1928)
Georges Lacombe (1868-1916)
Odilon Redon (1840-1916)
Paul Sérusier (1864-1927)
Vidya Gastaldon's work sketches the contours of a universe in which Hindu gods rub shoulders with characters from the Muppet Show, and where allusions to Christ mingle with citations from J. M. W. Turner, William Blake, and Luis Buñuel. Her protean visions fall within the province of the divine, the hallucinatory, or simply the everyday. Whether in her drawings, her paintings, or her sculptures, this syncretic mixture of sacredness, sensuality, humor, and slight provocation is expressed with a great wealth of formal features.
Gastaldon was born in Besançon, France, in 1974. She lives and works in Geneva. Her work is to be found in the following collections: Municipal Contemporary Art Collection, Geneva; Jenisch Museum, Vevey; French National Contemporary Art Collection, Paris; Piedmont Regional Contemporary Art Collection, Turin; French National Museum of Modern Art/Pompidou Center, Paris.
Shadow theater, cartoons, and early cinema are a few of the domains into which Hugues Reip likes to venture in order to rethink the very form of the art exhibition. He is an artist who favors tinkering around with various forms of artifice as well as playing with illusions that are exposed for what they are as soon as they appear. He has a taste for science fiction and parallel universes. Reip knows how to find windows into space-time in order to grasp with his fingers a sequence from a Buster Keaton film, venture onto a Georges Méliès movie set in order to find adventure, insert a cartoon into space while retaining its flatness, or grow mushrooms in a Burroughs book in order to draw out a hidden meaning. In a hall of mirrors, appeals and allusions to sometimes archaic forms of avant-garde art serve to bring out the fact that, even in its most radical forms of expression, contemporary art, too, requires the suspension of disbelief. (Patrick Javault)
Reip was born in 1964 in Cannes, France. He lives and works in Paris. His most recent one-man shows are: Black Soul at the Crystal Palace in Bordeaux (2012), Le Château at the Chamarande Departmental Estate's Center for Contemporary Art (2009), and Parallel Worlds at the M.O.T. Museum in Tokyo (2008). A monograph devoted to his work since 1990 appeared in 2011 from Éditions Villa St. Clair.