Donatello parmi les fauves


Lithography / engraving, painting, sculpture, mixed media

Donatello parmi les fauves

Past: May 10 → June 16, 2012

Talking about political engagement in art is to face ambiguous prospects, to attend the outcry of outdated ideologies. It fatally makes us think of postures of protest, the artist standing on the barricades, armed with his vindictive paintbrush, the Tres de Mayo or Guernica in the background. Art as a political gesture must necessarily denounce the excesses of power. But those days are gone: information overload killed denunciation. Not artistic commitment.

Art history and the art of history

The exhibition title, Donatello among the fauves, is an explicit reference to a historic turning point in art history, not always seen or analyzed as such. Fauvism was a violence done to painting itself, the affirmation of a disruption of codes and rules, a break. If the color unleashed then is met with its absence here, the artists presented, however, all share the same spirit, this mix of power struggle with and tribute to art history.

Eric Pougeau recalls this surrealist anticlericalism, this “spat blood, smile of beautiful lips in anger or the raptures of penitence.” Kasper Sonne revives the soul of a Klein who would have played too closely with matches. Marc Bijl is a “pot of paint flung in the face of the public.” Dennis Rudolph imposes martial order, praise of the despair and radiance of the absolute the absolute. Elodie Lesourd brings once again the proofs that her work is shot through with artistic radical stances.

Together they also share this complete awareness of a belonging, a fundamental belonging to their time. They express a presence in the world which is neither directed to its disenchantment, or its re-enchantment, but to its exposure. They reveal the voluntary disengagement of the historic fauves.

A manifest manifesto

The comparison of these artists will be a double manifesto. They represent, on a theoretical level, what Plato aspired to when he wanted to see these poets excluded from the precincts of the city. They are the barbarians penetrating our minds with their ideological provocation. Art is a political gesture disrupting the balance of public affairs. But to think of Donatello among the fauves, is also to understand an aesthetic placed at the heart of violence. Not the aesthetics of violence, but rather the highlighting of a visual power, of a beauty in the spotlight of danger. It’s a bit like asking if fire is destructive or salutary: an eternal question. Admission of failure, ruin, depravity or the promise of a flamboyant future? Their response sounds like a resounding victory: endangering themselves and walking along the front line; enter the big cats enclosure.

Benjamin Bianciotto
  • Opening Thursday, May 10, 2012 6 PM → 9 PM
Olivier Robert Gallery Gallery
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The artists