Sunday, October 16, 2011

Another side of Pop art

La Halle Saint Pierre in Paris specializes in representing Art Brut, Popular Art and Art Singulier and in collaboration with the magazine HEY! presents the exhibition "HEY! Modern Art & Pop Culture", a group exhibition with sixty-five artists and 170 works.
On the first floor, the dark space creates a mysterious, cult-like atmosphere and each artists works are displayed in a small area to avoid confusion.

The works of two artists meet the definition of Raw Art due to the material used. Pierre Bettencourt with burlap and stones composes primitive wall frescoes depicting naked females in languid poses and Philippe Dereux (1913-2001), friend of Dubuffet, is using bark and other dry organic material to compose decorative pieces. The works from Murielle Belin who lives in Nancy retained my attention. Her oil on wood have the darkness of Bosch works, depicting females with a white glowing skin, exanguinated, beheaded, mutilated, hanging. The only color is a streak of red blood. The black frame is as important as the painting with a black silky background and a name written under the painting, like a Saint in a church. She also reinvents her own bestiary creating birds like her Guinea fowl but with a small human head. Christ on the cross in a small composition is a dessicated frog. Are these inspired by visits in the churches of Eastern France?

The works can have an ecological undertone like this installation of fur coats attached to a ventilator and breathing slowly like revived animals (Neozoon). They can be bizarre with an installation of found objects from Stephane Blanquet or sickening like the work from Henry Darger found in his apartement after his death. His watercolors depict children in a Walt Dysney world but the story is a Grimm tale where the monters are adults abusing them.

Tatoo art is well represented with a whole room dedicated to the works of Titine K-Leu and several other artists.

The top floor represents several comic strips artists producing studies in psychology like Ludovic Debeurre, Gilbert Shelton Mezzo and also graffiti works. I should put "comic" because the subjects are anything but funny, dark humor sometimes.
It could seem ambitious to present so many artists from different backgrounds and different cultures (few Americans like Kris Mars from Minneapolis, South Koreans with Yu Jiinyoung) but the exhibit flows well due the concentric space which allows a walk through the building.

As a final thought, the exhibition represents artists without formal training (most of them), listening to their fantasms, fears, angsts. We discover that they are universel.

top photograph by the author

no photographs allowed in the building
photographs from the site La Halle Saint Pierre

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