Philippe Cazal — Des œuvres... voire quelques saillies

Exhibition

Design, print, graphic design, installation

Philippe Cazal
Des œuvres... voire quelques saillies

In 4 days: February 10 → April 1, 2023

mfc-michèle didier is pleased to celebrate the New Year with a solo exhibition by Philippe Cazal entitled Des œuvres… voire quelques saillies from February 10 to April 1, 2023. The opening will take place on Thursday, February 9 from 6 to 9 pm.

Born in 1948, Philippe Cazal developed, in the 1980s, a work visually indexed on fashion and advertising. Since 1985, he has been developing his identity into a signature and a brand, and his work echoes the questions of the time and remains highly topical.

The exhibition presents a set of historical pieces created between 1972 and 1995, which take the form of photographs, texts or even furniture elements. Some of them borrow directly from design and communication, evoking signs, signage, logos or slogans.

His Photographic images initially evoke the sensuality and seduction inherent to the fields of advertising and fashion, to take on political, economic, social and poetic tones. Other works take their roots into the dissolution of the Art in the Market from this time. The artist declares himself as a «fake Company», deploying a marketing strategy, taking art as his main topic and his diffusion his work, by producing posters or promotional leaflets. Conceived as a brand, the artist, his work and his name are irremediably linked into the production process.

The whole of these works produced in the Eighties, attest to a self-critical and free vision of the artist at work. Detached, objective, he situates and evaluates his place in the artistic milieu and in the social context: «I was a painter and sculptor when I decided to be an artist».

Philippe Cazal maliciously elaborates effective and seductive products, borrowing from the codes of commercial representation, but also from minimal art, design and painting. With skill, impersonating an entrepreneur as much as a propagandist, he plays with tautology by making his career central to his practice. Philippe Cazal asserts his brand image in-situ with works such as The Magic of Success or The Artist in His Environment, breaking the «fourth wall».

We thus discover a frontal artistic environment represented with humor, even provocation, contrary to the romantic and sensitive representations classically associated with artists’ self-portraits.

Prefiguring in a way Instagram and its use by artists, Philippe Cazal sets up a principle of staging the artist and his products, as objects of consumption, whose daily flow materializes between «elegance and bad taste» in glasses of champagne and other derisory indicators of success.

The disorder, this accumulation of layers of ambivalent reading will remain determining in the later work of Philippe Cazal, echoing the maxim of Marshal McLuhan «The medium is the message».

  • Opening Thursday, February 9 6 PM → 9 PM