The new rehang of the Centre Pompidou’s contemporary collection, “Cher(e)s Ami(e)s” pays tribute to the museum’s “friends,” those who have donated works during the past five years, whether patrons or the artists themselves. It’s a disparate group of pieces, with some dull entries mixed in with a good number of outstanding ones, making it well worth a visit, especially because it includes a number of lesser-known artists from all parts of the world.
The most spectacular work has to be “Cold Wind Sphere” (2012) by Olafur Eliasson, the current king of lighting effects. Installed in its own room, this hanging sphere of stainless steel rods, glass, mirrors and colored filters casts fascinating, colorful shadows around the room from the light of a single bulb. Nearby is another room-filling light piece by one of the pioneers of this type of art: François Morellet. “Pier and Ocean” (2014), made in collaboration with Tadashi Kawamata, consists of 38 neon tubes artfully arranged around the room that subtle change their intensity at varied intervals.
I was intrigued by a near-abstract two-dimensional piece, “Christine,” by Lebanese artist Huguette Caland (1995), representing three nude women in a sort of patchwork of textiles. She’s an artist I would like to learn more about.
In the design section, one large room was filled with incredibly delicate and beautiful constructions by architect and designer Junya Ishigami. Made to explore ideas for architectural projects, each one is a work of art in itself, thought-provoking and with a touch of humor. “Horizontal Bridge,” for example, imagines a bridge that stretches around the entire world without piles, supported only by axial force, while “Mountains” is a reflection on building a mountain as a way to think about architecture on another scale.
Another room full of works by designer Marcel Wanders, which also come with a good dose of humor, features such notable pieces as the golden “Bon Bon Chair,” the “Carbon Balloon Chair” and the “Crochet Table.”
There isn’t much in the way of painting, but my friend and I were both struck by the accomplished technique, dreamlike atmosphere and strong colors of “Pie Fight Interior 11” (2014) by Adrian Ghenie, in which the artist mixes references, taking inspiration for the female figure from a Three Stooges film and for the interior from a postcard of Hitler’s Reich Chancellery.
I also liked a four-part abstract mostly black-and-white work with discreet touches of color that I took to be by Christopher Wool. A glance
at the label showed that I was close: the mixed media work, “Untitled” (2012) was by Wool’s former assistant, Josh Smith.
Have a wander around and find your own favorites; there’s something for everyone here.