The IAC invites as a curator Laurent Montaron to present an overview of the artists of his generation. For the past few years, the IAC has worked closely with Laurent Montaron, through the presentation of a solo exhibition in 2009 and the acquisition of works for its collection. This latest exhibition, which he has entitled 1966-79, is therefore a new extension of this relationship.
The exhibition draws together sixteen artists born between 1966 and 1980, and implicitly questions the impact on this generation of the artistic heritage of the 1960s and ‘70s. The title – 1966-79 - refers to a book by Lucy R. Lippard published in 1973, Six Years: The dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 19721. Taking the form of a diary, the book brought together documents on the major artistic movements of the sixties and seventies. In particular, the author suggested the idea of dematerialisation: a notion through which she broached a set of heterogeneous practices founded on an art of action and ideas, thus giving an account of the significant transformation in the art practices of the era. While these artists – particularly conceptual ones – reacted to formalism and saw the dematerialisation of the artwork as a possibility to escape the market, nowadays there are other issues at stake.
Born in the same generation, the artists assembled for the 1966-79 exhibition all share an interest for form. Distancing themselves from contemporary dematerialisation generated by an overall process of digitization, they anchor their work in research that resembles a kind of archaeology, reappropriating gestures, procedures and techniques whose meaning has been lost or buried in the recent past and seems to escape us.
The materiality of the image, its reproducibility and its disappearance are explored by Dove Allouche and Alexander Gutke in works engaging processes of mechanical capture and chemical development. During an era of dematerialisation of media, the use of nondigital (silver) film or experimental development procedures expresses these artists’ concern with the materiality of the artwork, its fragility and sustainability. With Les dernières couleurs, a work produced from the final shots on autochrome film produced in the Lumière Brothers factories in 1952, Dove Allouche thus focuses on the disappearance of a medium through a reconstitution that we might interpret as an attempt to recover the memory of early photography and understand its mechanisms.
Katinka Bock, Bojan Šarcević, Ján Mancuška and Guillaume Leblon point out the ability of materials to transcribe the passing of time, the repetition of a gesture, or the measurement of a distance. Their works orientate the theme of the exhibition towards the notions of remains, imprints, and in general terms, towards forms that take history into account. In this respect, the work of Katinka Bock, Sechs Flächen und ein Raum, invents a mean of representing space, by cutting up clay slabs into architectural proportions.
Finally, the desire to return to a form of transmission is manifested through a revival of the use of narrative and the connections it helps spectators to make. This is particularly the case in the work of Jason Dodge, Margaret Salmon and Jordan Wolfson, or also João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva, whose films draw on the spectator’s imagination and memory. Historical and political stories are also a prominent feature of the exhibition. In their film Subi dura a rudibus, Leonnie Van Brummelen and Siebren De Haan thus focus on representations of historic events, while Ulla von Brandenburg awakens the memory of North American slaves’ struggles to earn their freedom through enlargements of quilt
Through sculptures, films, installations, objects or photographs, the artists brought together in this exhibition question our present state as seen through the prism of the past. They deal with the medium in its materiality, in terms of the relationship to time that it generates, and in its capacity to resist a kind of atrophying of experience, which characterises the contemporary era.
This show is presented in the national context of “Pléiades - 30 ans des Frac” and questions creation as the driving force in constituting a collection and presents works that may enrich the IAC collection in the future.
1 Lucy R. Lippard, Six Years : the Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972: a cross-reference book of information on some esthetic boundaries: consisting of a bibliography into which are inserted a fragmented text, art works,documents, interviews, and symposia, arranged chronologically and focused on o-called conceptual or information or idea art with mentions of such vaguely designated areas as minimal, anti-form, systems, earth, or process art, occuring now in the Americas,Europe, England, Australia, and Asia (with occasional political overtones), edited and annotated by Lucy R. Lippard., (New York : Praeger Publishers Inc, New York, 1973).
Lucy Lippard (born in 1937 in New York) is an art critic, political activist, theorist and exhibition curator. She is the author of around twenty books and actively contributed to updating theories on contemporary art.