Buy Sellf / Retour vers le Futur

February 9, 2010By Heidi EllisonArchive
bordeaux block party

Mathieu Mercier’s “Lampe Double Douille” (1999). Buy-Sellf, CAPC. Courtesy of the artist

The city of Bordeaux kicked off its second annual Block Party, a celebration of contemporary art, last Friday with openings in museums and galleries …

bordeaux block party

Mathieu Mercier’s “Lampe Double Douille” (1999). Buy-Sellf, CAPC. Courtesy of the artist

The city of Bordeaux kicked off its second annual Block Party, a celebration of contemporary art, last Friday with openings in museums and galleries all over town. The centerpiece of the event was two new exhibitions at the CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux, housed in the spectacular spaces of a former warehouse built of the local blond stone.

“Retour vers le Futur” (“Back to the Future,” through May 16) shows off the work of members of a highly active local collective of artists, Buy-Sellf, which has banded together with other associations of urban planners, graphic artists and other cultural players to create the Fédération Pola, with a shared locale and administration. The entertaining exhibition at CAPC focuses on past and new works by Buy-Sellf members, some of whom have made their names in the contemporary art world.

The running backdrop for the show is Anita Molinero’s “apocalyptic” wall of orange-painted polystyrene, which appears from its many blowtorch burns to have withstood a recent war. Fire crops up in a number of other works as well, including Tony Matelli’s amusing installation “The Old Me” (2008), in which studio photographs of the smiling artist are being burnt yet not destroyed by a perpetual flame.

Another artist, Laurent Perbos, plays with light by letting a rainbow fall to the ground and refracting its colors through broken glass, creating a sinuous rivers of sparkling colors. Stéphane Vigny stretches light by substituting neon tubes for normal light bulbs in an old-fashioned chandelier, entitled “Lustre” (2007).

Other works play with architectural forms, among them Simon Boudvin’s subtle “Rois Tectoèdres” (2009), which use anastylosis, an archaeological technique for reconstructing ruined monuments, to create three little geometric forms of sand that are highly evocative in spite of their extreme simplicity.

The second exhibition, “CAPC, or Life in the Grip of Art,” (through Sept. 19) consists of works chosen from the museum’s 30-year-old collection and the collection of the FRAC (Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain) Aquitaine by an outside curator, Aurélie Voltz, a young Frenchwoman who lives in Berlin. She opens the show with an intriguing piece by Christian Boltanski, who seems to be ubiquitous in French museums these days. His “Inventory of Objects Once Belonging to a Girl from Bordeaux” (1973-90) is one of his more interesting conceptual pieces. The artist placed an ad in a local paper seeking a young woman willing to donate all her belongings for a work of art. Someone actually responded, and Boltanski organized all the paraphernalia of her life by function and carefully arranged two hundred items in vitrines with labels, as if in an ethnological museum: furniture, makeup, bathroom products, underwear, photo albums, clothing, etc. The result is a fascinating yet chilling summary of one messy life reduced to neatly arranged objects deprived of their meaning by being separated from their owner, yet representing her and a specific time at the same time.

Taking inspiration from this piece, Voltz set up the entire exhibition as if it were in a folk museum with collections representing different aspects of life. Each room has its theme: the ages of life, rivers, fields, religious imagery, legends and oral traditions, arms, etc. We find among the varied pieces chosen early works by now-famous artists, including drawings by Miguel Barceló, a photo by Diane Arbus and installations by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Joseph Kosuth. Alongside them are more recent works by up-and-coming young artists and works by artists who may be forgotten today.

A third exhibition, “Kiss the Real” (through April 18) consists of a series of paintings by young artist Johann Milh, who actually painted them in the museum – he was allowed to use various spaces in the building as his studio since he didn’t have one of his own. He has created an architectural mise en scène for them that goes well with his stark paintings of skateboarders caught in moments of anguish against angular architectural settings.

Heidi Ellison

CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux: Entrepôt Lainé 7, rue Ferrère, 33000 Bordeaux. Tel.: 05 56 00 81 50. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-6pm (8pm on Wednesday). Admission: €5.

More reviews of Paris art shows.

Reader Reaction: Click here to respond to this article (your response may be published on this page and is subject to editing).

© 2010 Paris Update


What do you think? Send a comment:

Your comment is subject to editing. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe for free!

The Paris Update newsletter will arrive in your inbox every Wednesday, full of the latest Paris news, reviews and insider tips.