SEING IN PAINTING – Young figurative artists in France
Long regarded as the poor relation of contemporary creation, painting is now a medium chosen and championed by many young artists, who are giving it renewed appeal.
In the last few decades, while few art centres, FRAC structures (French regional collections of contemporary art) or museums have featured painting in their galleries, some institutions – the MASC ranking high among them – have successfully promoted painters of different generations. In schools of fine arts, whose faculties have long included only a smattering of painters, it is thanks to a few ‘outsiders’ that this art continues to be taught. Alongside these artists, such as Denis Laget in Saint-Étienne, Jean-Michel Alberola, Philippe Cognée and François Boisrond, Nina Childress in Paris, Laurent Proux in Toulouse, Marc Desgrandchamps in Lyon and François Maurige, François Perrodin and Guillaume Pinard in Rennes, new generations are once again emerging to enhance the pictorial idiom.
The exhibition, focusing on the work of some thirty painters born in the 1980s, will showcase these practices that call for a new form of history painting or forge links with literature or art history.
Their works, newly completed and handpicked by the curator within the confines of the workshop, bear the imprint of the ‘physicality’ of painting, as a medium that not only involves a cosa mentale (lit. a ‘mental thing’) but also a physical presence that is dependent on both intrinsic elements (such as the work’s dimensions, substrate, material or colours) and external factors that determine how it is presented for display and its relationship to the space around it.