Palais de Tokyo presents "Future, Ancient, Fugitive. A French scene. »


The exhibition takes its title from the author Olivier Cadiot (1) to create a subjective and sensitive mapping of an informal community of artists working in our time. They were born between the 1930s and the 1990s and together cover a very broad field of practices. Between them, there are as many filiations and correspondences as strong singularities. Each one confronts itself in its own way at a time when truth is difficult to disentangle from fiction, when the collective spirit is as virtuous as the desire to dissociate oneself can be strong, and when the feeling of being in the same boat is as much a source of hope as it is tinged with doubts. This exhibition opens at the end of a shattering decade: between attempts to imagine the future and the need to summon the past, it sketches out a repertoire of strategies to divert the present.

The exhibition Future, former, fugitive, devoted to "a French stage" is based on an open conception of territorial inscription - which brings together artists born in France or abroad, living in France or abroad, with temporary or long-term ties to this country - as long as it escapes the effects of tabula rasa that would like one generation to eclipse another. On the contrary, it brings together "contemporaries" who today share this evolving space with porous borders. And it seeks to draw the transmission belts through which this air of time that the forty-four artists or groups of artists gathered for the occasion breathes simultaneously, passes in transit. Artists born between the 1930s and the 1990s, but who all live and work in and with their time.

Contemporary is a "transitive and therefore relational word", recalled Lionel Ruffel in Brouhaha - Les mondes du contemporain, published by Verdier. We are contemporary with something or someone and it is this interdependence, this link that serves to build bridges from one artist to another in the exhibition we have built in the Palais de Tokyo. It is also this permeability to the present and a form of permanence to time that we thought we detected in the artists gathered in the exhibition and which allowed us to establish this photograph, not exhaustive, nor even representative, but simply sensitive of a French scene. Or rather of an "other" French scene. Of the one that takes place more discreetly but with no less power in workshops, art schools, shared spaces, in the margins or sheltered from the market.

The guest artists thus share the task of putting up forms of resistance to the subpoenas and other fashion effects that irreparably colour an era. Not that these artists keep away from today's world, on the contrary, let's say rather than refusing urgency, they allow the thickness of time to seep into their works. « Only those who do not allow themselves to be blinded by the lights of the century and manage to grasp the dark side of them, their dark intimacy, can call themselves contemporary. " wrote Giorgio Agamben a few years ago... (2)This is a very operative notion of "inactuality" that could be appropriate for the artists we are talking about here.

This exhibition is also an opportunity to recall that there is not one French scene, but many communities, commitments and singularities. During the months of preparation for the exhibition, the curators have thus allowed themselves to be surprised by the increasingly salient relief of certain individualities on the vast and complex surface of the French landscape. From an ever-present curiosity for this return to the collective that we perceive today in a certain number of young artists who are once again trying to experience living together, shared spaces and forms of mutualisation as a response to an economic necessity, they have gradually moved on to the need to reaffirm more singular trajectories. Singular and not necessarily solitary, since many of the artists in this exhibition maintain forms of long-term companionship with their peers, all generations combined.

Who are these contemporaries? What do they say about today, or even tomorrow? Where are the places and subjects of exchange? What are the genealogies, sometimes underground, that contaminate and nourish their thoughts and practices?
These genealogy stories are underground, the exhibition is underground. Little told and exhibited, they are nevertheless constitutive of all artistic scenes which owe as much to the multiplicity of points of view as to affinities and a form of continuity. Among the forty-four artists or collectives gathered, many of them met in art schools, places par excellence of intergenerational transmission. Alongside these fruitful meeting places, a number of more informal spaces, on the fringes of institutions, were decisive for the artists in the exhibition. For Future, former, fugitive also has the peculiarity of bringing together a significant number of artists with atypical, non-linear or jagged trajectories, and who sometimes take root or propagate themselves far from the field of art.

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A sensitive and dynamic cartography of another French scene, this exhibition thus reaffirms the role of certain smugglers, more secretive figures and fugitives of all kinds, but above all artists who place their work in a form of duration, whether at the dawn of their career or already at the head of a dense body of work.

With : Nils Alix-Tabeling, Mali Arun (Winner of the Grand Prix du Salon de Montrouge 2018), Fabienne Audéoud, Carlotta Bailly-Borg, Grégoire Beil, Martin Belou, Jean-Luc Blanc, Maurice Blaussyld, Anne Bourse,Kévin Bray, Madison Bycroft, Julien Carreyn, Marc Camille Chaimowicz in collaboration with We Do Not Work Alone and Wallpapers by Artists, Antoine Château, Nina Childress, Jean Claus, Jean-Alain Corre, Jonas Delaborde and Hendrik Hegray, Bertrand Dezoteux, Vidya Gastaldon, Corentin Grossmann, Agata Ingarden, Renaud Jerez, Pierre Joseph, Laura Lamiel, Anne Le Troter, Antoine Marquis, Caroline Mesquita, Anita Molinero, Aude Pariset, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Marine Peixoto, Jean-Charles de Quillacq, Antoine Renard, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Linda Sanchez (winner of the Prix des Amis du Palais de Tokyo 2018), Alain Séchas, Anna Solal, Kengné Téguia, Sarah Tritz, Nicolas Tubéry, Turpentine, Adrien Vescovi, Nayel Zeaiter.

Exhibition Commissioners : Franck Balland, Daria de Beauvais, Adélaïde Blanc, Claire Moulène
Curatorial Assistant : Marilou Thiébault

Exhibition Future, former, fugitive. A French scene. at the Palais de Tokyo, from October 16, 2019 to January 5, 2020. Opening on Monday, October 14.
(To be discovered from noon to midnight, every day except Tuesday).

(1) Olivier Cadiot is a so-called experimental writer, poet, playwright, and himself at the crossroads of different artistic fields, he has placed the experience of creation and the decisive imprint of time at the heart of his subtle and unclassifiable writing. Future, old, fugitive thus brought into the scene a figure who will follow him through several novels: Robinson. A "Robinson" far from the heroic figure portrayed by Daniel Defoe, simply "shifted, right next to him, on the edge, perhaps a little below" as Eric Mangion wrote in the magazine Palais accompanying the exhibition. Fleeing the grip of time, this fugitive appeared to be an appropriate qualifier for these forty-four witnesses who give an account of an elusive present.
(2) What is contemporary? by Giorgio Agamben - Payot et Rivages, 2009

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