…et avec cela? — Muntadas


Graphic design, screen-printing, video

…et avec cela?

Past: November 6 → December 13, 2014

…et avec cela?, a Muntadas exhibition

A new Muntadas exhibition in Paris, following his most recent significant retrospective Entre / Between at the Jeu de Paume in 2012, …et avec cela? belongs to a set of two exhibitions imagined by the artist. The other exhibition of the set is entitled …et avec ceci? and is presented simultaneously at the galerie Gabrielle Maubrie.

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Antoni Muntadas, Tout va bien (extrait), 2003 Triptych Silkscreen on rag paper — 76 × 56 cm — edition of 75 Courtesy of the artist & mfc-michèle didier

The work of Muntadas takes after the historical conceptual art, this being how he identifies with today’s contemporary art world. The shapes and contents of his work, however, tends to bring him closer to pop, at times. The proposition ...et avec cela? is, indeed, an example, made up of silkscreens or prints, posters. This significant ensemble — counting 25 pieces — questions the use of language in our globalized society and, most of all, its use in a commercial context.

The artist’s made the choice for this exhibition, in view of tackling the subject of consumerism and its linguistic codes, to saturate the space, thus reaching a generally simplified white cube of a traditional shop in which the lines of the layout must be optimized.

The artist’s foreword, written above, announces the questions that are inherent to his double proposition: the question of consumerism at the heart of the art market.

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Antoni Muntadas, Close up, Triptyque Le Monde, 10 novembre 1984, 0 Digital print on paper — 60 × 40 cm Courtesy of the artist & mfc-michèle didier

How much, written in white capital letters on a pale pink monochrome background, announces the tone: an art gallery is a place of business like any other in which the « desire to sell and the eventuality of sales » converge, to quote the artist. The print is part of a series on the five ‘W’s we all know so well: Who? What? Why? Where? When? to which it is recommended to add How? and For whom?. By asking these questions, an empirical method of questioning at the early stages of any developing project, Muntadas seeks to understand the way in which the world functions and especially the way the art world is organized. How much? comes to conclude this preliminary inspection and underlines the numerous constraints imposed on art by its own environment.

Dealings, a set of eight prints, illustrates, with eight scenes sketched in white lines, different transactional situations in a variety of contexts during which the use of the verb becomes a science, that of the rhetoric, an art of the effect of speech on the mind.

Language and its use in a context that is strictly commercial is transposed to that of a larger context of globalization.

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Antoni Muntadas, How much ?, 2013 Inkjet print — 69 × 49.5 cm Courtesy of the artist & mfc-michèle didier

Five pieces come from the series On Translation. This work is now one of the most important series by Muntadas. On Translation explores the questions of transcription, interpretation and translation: from language to codes, from science to technology, from subjectivity to objectivity, from peace to war, from private to public, from semiology to technology. On Translation reflects upon the role of translation / translators being the visible matter / that is invisible. From this famous series are presented four version of Warning: perception requires involvement declined in Portuguese Atenção, Russian ВНИМАНИЕ and Chinese 警告. Is there a specific way for each nation to warn people about the constraints of perception? Whatever the context, red seems to remain the color of warning. A fifth piece from On Translation entitled The Bookstore questions the labeling of shelves in public libraries all over the world.

Another series deals with national expressions and what they mean in terms of identity and representation of the whole nation. For Brazil, for instance, Muntadas has chosen the expression Tudo bem, Tudo Bom! applied onto a background image of a tropical forest that the collective imagination would assume to be the Amazon forest. Uruguay is met with a somewhat presumptuous We are Fantastic, while the image that goes with these words are less flattering — that of a balding man whose face is cut at the forehead. France is brought to life through the famous Tout va bien over a view of an explosion, which is perhaps a symbolic implosion or a documentary of one of the numerous wars that the country has engaged in.

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Antoni Muntadas, Ordeal of Picasso’s heirs, The New York Times Magazine, April 20th 1980, 2012 DVD in handmade box bound in black Frankonia and black velvet, Silkscreen print and magnet closure — Box : 26.5 × 18.5 × 5 cm — Photographic image manipulated by the artist and burned to DVD with a resolution of 575 MB, allowing it to be printed and mounted onto the wall up to a maximum size of 400 × 366 cm Courtesy of the artist & mfc-michèle didier

A last series, Close up, deals with typographic accidents in the written media: spaces left by mistake after making quick corrections just before printing the article. Muntadas made it his job to hunt them down and collect them, especially in Le Monde and El Paìs. These blank spaces are meant to convey governmental censorship over the media in the past. Could it be a form of self-imposed censorship today ?

One of the leading pieces of the exhibition, Ordeal of Picasso’s heirs adds to this rich collection. The work is made entirely of the illustration of a newspaper article with a provocative title : Ordeal of Picasso’s heirs. This picture was published in The New York Times Magazine on April 20, 1980. Here, Muntadas is intrigued by the correlation between image © and the author’s © in producing a work entirely based on reproduction (copies). Indeed, the photograph sold by the artist comes with a certificate of authenticity. Muntadas chose not to diffuse them in the form of a developed photograph but as a digital file engraved on a DVD. Its reproduction is then infinite and can be blown up to a considerable extent, thus making it possible to produce a four-meter large wallpaper with the image. Muntadas goes on to mention the following: « the author made his best efforts to study the legal rights of this work. If you believe that any part of the content of this work is a violation of your ©, the author is willing to respect all rights issues and will reply fully when notified. The author reserves the right to verify your identity and to obtain further information to shed further light on the basis of the claim. »

…et avec cela? (…anything else?)

This will be all for the moment, concerning the exhibition at mfc-michèle didier.

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Antoni Muntadas, Brasil… Tudo bem, Tudo bom !, 1999 Silkscreen on rag paper — 48.5 × 100 cm — edition of 70 Courtesy of the artist & mfc-michèle didier

One last thing, perhaps… in the end, isn’t it the artist, the main actor of this art market? Muntadas’ text does not mention this, but the exhibition at the mfc-michèle didier gallery would not have seen the day without his intervention.

Now, let’s go do business.

  • Opening Thursday, November 6, 2014 6 PM → 10 PM
03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

66, rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth

75003 Paris

T. 01 71 27 34 41


Arts et Métiers
Strasbourg Saint-Denis

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, noon – 7 PM
Other times by appointment

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Venue schedule

The artist

  • Antoni Muntadas