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The Long-Awaited Exhibition “Avant L’Orage ” at the François Pinault Foundation

The Long-Awaited Exhibition “Avant L’Orage ” at the François Pinault Foundation

Last week, the long-awaited exhibition with the tragic title “Avant L’Orage ” (“Before the storm”), opened in the building of the François Pinault Foundation.  The Bourse de Commerce — Pinault Collection is the latest museum in the network of sites and initiatives developed by François Pinault since 2006. It offers a perspective on the contemporary art collection he has amassed over the past forty years, through a unique programme of exhibitions and events.

Before the storm, the name fully justifies its tragedy, since, according to the idea of ​​the chief curator, this exhibition is primarily a warning of an impending environmental and climate catastrophe. Everywhere you can see the subtle plan of the main curator, who very professionally “juggles” all the possibilities available to him in order to create a unique atmosphere. One of the slogans of the exhibition is «Read, Watch, Listen » as the exhibition involves all forms of contemporary art from painting to video art.

In this exhibition, everything makes sense, from the date of the exhibition from winter to autumn, almost a complete cycle of nature, and ending with a symbolic selection of talented contemporary artists. The famous “stars” such as Cy Twombly (painting) and young ones such as Lucas Arruda (musician). They are positioned as if they are talking to each other. The central part of the exhibition was given to the Vietnamese artist Dahn Vo with her emblematic installation “Tropeaolum”. “Tropeaolum” suggests a very particular sense of time, in which nothing truly dies, and the possibility of survival and evolution remains. Other works by the artist from the collection find refuge in this dark garden, where they converse with old wooden sculptures that the artist has collected.

Hicham Berrada, Présage, 2018

In the other spaces, a display from the Pinault Collection supports this birth of a new cycle of seasons in the making, of mutating ecosystems, of micro-territories in gestation, bathed in a light approaching a mutating climatic dusk. Hicham Berrada’s Présage, which immerses the visitor in a landscape in the throes of transformation, makes us aware of the beauty of a world without us. Diana Thater’s Chernobyl takes us into an irradiated landscape, an apocalyptic theatre, while Pierre Huyghe’s film follows the movements of a monkey wearing a human mask, abandoned in the outskirts of Fukushima. Robert Gober’s Waterfall depicts a trompe l’oeil nature from which we are irretrievably separated, while Pierre Huyghe’s Untilled (a play on the words “untitled” and “uncultivated”) recreates the world as experienced by non-humans, from dogs to insects, in a compost committed to new possibilities for fertilising the world.

Mangrané’s dialogue with Cy Twombly, in which the American painter describes a cyclical, unregulated course of time, in which the solar barque merges with the image of an eye that opens only to close again, and in which the belief in the ancient gods mingles with the undulations of desire. The Spanish artist delights in this by deploying an ensemble of fragile situations, simple threads stretched to house leaves and branches, luminous filaments responding to the fluctuations of the climate as well  as to the presence of visitors.

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Diana Thater

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