France Arts Part III

According to franciscogardening, Kern assembles discarded objects and tools and paints them before photographing them, just as P. Mercier does with flesh or clay: the result is the creation of a theater of truth and falsehood that photography unites in a ambiguous perception. P. Tosani photographs objects of his own making or portraits through more or less transparent surfaces that completely transform the nature of the model, before choosing more or less smooth surfaces of spoons or drum skins which he isolates in enlargements to reveal their reflections and roughness. The same derealization is achieved by B. Faucon with sophisticated staging: mannequins, launches of balloons, a sphere of fire suspended in space, a chamber covered with gold. For Mogarra the staging is that of ordinary objects: pieces of cardboard, plastic objects, bouquets of flowers that constitute as many forms of mockery of the myths of luxury and exotic holidays. With T. Drahos and J.-Ch. Blanc the photograph is torn, torn, sometimes reconstituted, then photographed again in order to become a pictorial work. L. Jammes, companion of the painters of Figuration libre, he created the portrait of his friends by building backgrounds that evoke their paintings and then graphically retouching the photographic prints. Among all these photographic practices, that of J.-M. Bustamante appears traditional, photographing uncultivated land and urban areas, then obtaining enlargements of such precision that the void of meaning and theme seems even more disturbing.

Calle uses photographs as traces of an activity, of an investigation: they then make it possible to reconstruct an episode or to create a fictional story, even to give shape to the imaginary visual universe of the blind to whom artist asks to describe favorite objects. Pierre and Gilles use photographs of boys who stage retouched portraits of actresses in the kitsch and retro repertoire.

In the seventies, sculpture, under the influence of American minimalism and Support-Surface, had turned in on itself, on its characters, its processes and its materials. Parallel to painting, in the Eighties the sculpture in France moved away from this cold or material abstraction that characterized it. Artists like T. Grand or B. Pagès, from Support-Surface, have adopted a much more aesthetic attitude, going beyond the simple analysis of means and materials that they carried out in the seventies. The combination of different materials (wood and resin for T. Grand, wood, concrete, scrap metal, paint, etc., for B. Pagès) leads to the construction of columns and becomes a game on verticality and transparency, history and nature. A. Kirili (b. 1946) in his various series makes use of the traditional gestures of the sculptor (modeling, cutting, casting). Thus he situates his work in an approach to the history of sculpture without emptying the symbolic, sexual or religious connotations of his sculptures.

But the real development of sculpture in the Eighties, in France as elsewhere, lies in the appropriation of waste or constructed objects, which artists assemble, cut and multiply. The juxtaposition can be alive in Saytour, which contrasts a piece of furniture from the 1950s or 1960s with modernist aggression, with plinths, baroque or kitsch, made of concrete, stones, plaster: the aesthetic of the encounter proposed by this senior from Support-Surface. Instead R. Baquié elaborates his own sculptures starting from a bricolage of cars, bodywork, usual objects diverted from their function. The irony and derision of contemporary technology are the motive for this work which finds echo in the works of N. Talec or J.-L. Ruggierello. In G. Friedmann (b. 1950) and in D. Tremblay, who died in 1985, the object has the task of constructing the image. In the manner of Arcimboldo in the first: often a single material, such as pine needles, plastic pipes, glass, must manufacture the form that the title gives to another level of meaning. Tremblay can approach the Swiss M. Raetz when a viewer’s point of view is privileged to see the shape cut out of a doormat or produced by the accumulation of plastic animals arise; the title reinforces the poetic dimension and the abstraction of this work.

During the seventies, the artist gladly conducted a social critical action through performances: rituals by M. Journiac or self-mutilation by G. Pane (b. 1939). In recent years the latter has produced, with the help of symbolic objects, elements of a performance ” possible ”: ” Scores ” that mentally refer the viewer to carrying out those actions that the artist no longer practices in public. For the French artists of today, the major question has shifted from the social to the artistic: the artist investigates the work, its condition, circulation and advertising dimension at the center of his art; moreover, some artists come to investigate through their practice the role and condition of the artist himself. Renewing the link between art and society from the point of view of self-reflection, they generally use objects that arrange, install, in parodies or simulacra of artistic, public, everyday, conventional situations.

France Arts 3