Portraits d’intérieurs, villa Sauber — Gilbert & George, villa Paloma


Drawing, painting, photography, mixed media...

Portraits d’intérieurs, villa Sauber
Gilbert & George, villa Paloma

Past: July 10, 2014 → January 18, 2015

Portraits d’intérieurs — villa Sauber

Wallpaper, carpets and curtains, pictures, mirrors, flowers and cups of tea… The exhibition Portraits d’Intérieurs introduces the different areas of Villa Sauber re-visited and presented by five contemporary artists.

Drawing from a repertory of forms borrowed from literature, art history, stage and film, Marc-Camille Chaimowicz, Danica Dakic, Brice Dellsperger, Nick Mauss and Laure Prouvost renew our perception of the former abode of the English painter Robert Sauber by developing different elements of décors in each of the museum’s rooms.

Portraits d’Intérieurs stems from the encounter, within a private collection, of two pieces by Marc-Camille Chaimowicz and Nick Mauss, respective tributes to poet and director Jean Cocteau, and to his brilliant decorator Christian Bérard.

Chaimowicz medium
Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Jean Cocteau…, 2003-2014 Vue d’installation Tate Modern, London, 0 Collection Nicoletta Fiorucci, London Photo © Andy Keate Courtesy the Artist and Cabinet, London

A laminated plywood screen unveils the installation Jean Cocteau… — an imaginary bedroom of the poet, inspired by the décor of Les Enfants Terribles (1929) and made out of painted wooden panels, carpets, and various pieces of furniture and objects that Marc-Camille Chaimowicz made or found. Placed throughout the former living room of Villa Sauber, these elements recreate an old-fashioned bourgeois interior that resembles the “chamber theater” imagined by Cocteau, a combination of memorabilia and references to art history. In connection with this installation, Marc-Camille Chaimowicz presents a selection of works chosen from the NMNM’s collections, underpinned by Jean Cocteau’s relationship with the Ballets Russes and the Principality of Monaco. Christian Bérard’s ethereal drawings for Cotillon and La Septième Symphonie are shown alongside Le Grand Dieu Pan, A unique ceramic piece, which Jean Cocteau made in 1958 for the Cap d’Ail theatre, and that is presented for the first time at the NMNM.

Nick mauss medium
Nick Mauss, Concern, crush, desire, 2011, 0 Coton appliqué sur velours, poignées et butoirs de porte en laiton Collection Nicoletta Fiorucci, London © Nick Mauss, courtesy 303 Gallery, New York

Nick Mauss’ piece Concern, Crush, Desire is a reprise of an antechamber decorated by Christian Bérard in 1939 for Guerlain’s Champs-Elysées Institute, and encases the works selected from the NMNM’s collections in yellow velvet and cotton appliqué. Nick Mauss’ drawings interact with several set decoration projects: Pavel Tchelitchew’s scenery for the ballet Ode, an annotated scale model of the set created by Natalia Goncharova for The Peri, as well as two photographs in which Constantin Brancusi captures Lizica Codreanu dancing to Satie’s Gymnopedies, and Cocteau’s drawings of Bérard made up and dressed as a transvestite.

The theatrical dimension of these interiors and the confusion between the exhibition space and the space of the stage are extended in five video installations.

Prouvost medium
Laure Prouvost, Wantee, 2013, Vue d’installation à Londonderry, 0 Dimensions variables Courtesy l’artiste et Montinternational, Londres et Bruxelles

With the video installation Wantee, produced by Tate Britain on the occasion of the exhibition Schwitters in Britain, the artist Laure Prouvost invites spectators to enter a reconstruction of “Grandad”’s cabin (her fictional grandfather), a conceptual artist close to Schwitters whose companion Edith Thomas was nicknamed “Wantee”. Drawings, paintings, sculptures, ceramics and furniture make up the décor of this strange place where people lived and created, thus questioning the nature and function of art.

Dakic1 medium
Danica Dakic, Isola Bella, 2007/2008, 0 Still photograph Collection NMNM © Danica Dakic, VG Bild-Kunst 2014, Bonn Courtesy l’Artiste et Gandy gallery, Slovaquie

The installation Isola Bella, devised by Bosnian artist Danica Dakic, is announced by three posters hanging over a display case that contains accessories for a show: eight paper masks and a series of hand-written notes, most certainly acting instructions. The title Isola bella, is borrowed from a panoramic décor of wallpaper created by the Züber company in 1842. For two weeks, a reproduction of this wallpaper was installed in the home for mentally handicapped children and adolescents at Pazaric in Bosnia, turning a small auditorium into a cinema set. Against a paradise island backdrop, the residents of the home become actors in short presentations in which they play and improvise their own lives.

Dellsperger 1 medium
Brice Dellsperger, Body double 29, 2013, 0 Video still avec Brice Dellsperger et Natacha Lesueur Collection NMNM courtesy Air de Paris

By freely re-creating the décors of certain cult films, the visual artist Brice Dellsperger produces remakes which he puts together under the overall title Body Double. Within one and the same image, several characters evolve, usually played by the actor himself, filmed against a green backcloth and then apparently embedded in an artificial décor. The characters seem to float in the décor, becoming dangerously detached from it, and ready to topple into the image. The exhibition presents Brice Dellsperger’s two latest films, made in 2013. BD29 now belongs to the NMNM collection, thanks to UBS patronage.

Gilbert & George, Art Exhibition — villa Paloma

Nouveau Musée National de Monaco presents a major exhibition of the art of Gilbert & George. 46 historical and more recent pictures tracing more than 40 years of creation are shown in a presentation designed by the artists on the three floors of Villa Paloma.

This unique exhibition of pictures by Gilbert & George all coming from the collection of a family based in Monaco falls into a theme repeatedly addressed by the NMNM, that of a « built » landscape, subject of analysis and interpretation for a society that constantly changes.

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Gilbert & George, Thirteen Streets, 1992, 0 Hand-dyed photos, mounted on masonite in metal frames Collection Privée © Gilbert & George

From this exceptional selection each viewer will see how the art of Gilbert & George comprises both a world of its own — intense, frightening, lonely, loving, abject, joyous, struggling, defiant, crazed, still, contemplative, vertiginous, desiring, modern — and a view of the past, present and future world.

Since first meeting at St Martin’s School of Art, London, in 1967, Gilbert & George have lived and worked together as one single and fiercely independent artist, dedicated solely to the creation of their art. They have no allegiance to any other trend, school, movement, doctrine, theory or style of art.

Gilbert & George already knew that they were seeking for a form of art that was to them entirely rooted in the real world — in the streets and clamor and traffic and buildings and hearts of strangers: an ‘Art For All’. Their art would be multiallusive — reaching out to all of the mystery and passion and boredom and volatility of our modern urban world. Their subject was literally at their feet — along countless streets, the thoroughfares of the passage of millions of lives, and dense with the yearly thickening tracery of human existence.

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Gilbert & George, Red Morning Death, 1977, 0 Hand-dyed photos, mounted on masonite in metal frames Collection Privée © Gilbert & George

They would celebrate the lost world of Imperial and Commonwealth Britain, chasing down its ghosts on old postcards and in war memorials, music hall songs and Victorian architecture. All that was rejected or outlawed by the rigid dogma of contemporary art as they perceived it: their art would embrace all that was culturally and aesthetically homeless, and all who were actually homeless or unheeded, cast out, fallen through the cracks of life.

And so for Gilbert & George, like the poet T. S. Eliot and the novelist Charles Dickens before them, the dark swell of London’s ocean of humanity would offer a subject that was at once local and universal, brutally real yet ceaselessly animated by instances of visionary epiphany.

Nouveau Musée National de Monaco Museum
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17, av Princesse Grace & 56 bd du Jardin Exotique

98000 Monaco

T. 377 98 98 19 62


Opening hours

Everyday, 11 AM – 7 PM

Admission fee

Full rate €6.00 — Concessions €Gratuit

Villa Paloma + Villa Sauber

The artists

  • Gilbert & George
  • Brice Dellsperger
  • Marc Camille Chaimowicz
  • Alexandre Serebriakoff
  • Nick Mauss
  • Danica Dakic
  • Laure Prouvost