Mythical figures of contemporary art on show at the Galerie Kamel Mennour
With the exhibition “Double Eye Poke,” the talented young curator Béatrice Gross offers a refreshing, sensitive and playful look at four major artists: Bruce Nauman, Sol LeWitt, Dan Flavin and Lynda Benglis.
Major figures of conceptual or minimalist art, Bruce Nauman, Sol LeWitt, Dan Flavin and Lynda Benglis (perhaps less well known than her confrères) have left an indelible mark on art history since the 1970s.
With the exhibition “Double Eye Poke,” curator Béatrice Gross very convincingly reminds us that far from being reducible to movements known for their hermeticism and austerity, these artists’ works are first and foremost physical experiences that directly engage the viewer. Flavin’s neon tubes, for example, literally dazzle, to the point of establishing a physical relationship with the person contemplating them. Above all, the pieces on show display a certain humour, like the video by Benglis in which two women kiss greedily, parodying a common male pornographic fantasy, or the very rare sketches by Nauman in which the legendary American artist draws his face with different pouts, each more grotesque than the last. Evidently, the human body is at the centre of this show: put to the test, disconcerted, contemplated, it is even made to realize artworks, such as the Sol LeWitt drawings which require all the skill of experienced draftsmen for their reproduction. Of course the exhibition never loses sight of the ideas of repetition, seriality and purity of forms that characterized the conceptual and minimalist movements, but they are rediscovered, through the eyes of a French curator based in the U.S., at their most typical, lively, funny and sensational.
By Thibaut Wychowanok
DOUBLE EYE POKE : Lynda Benglis, Dan Flavin, Sol LeWitt, Bruce Nauman à la galerie Kamel Mennour, 47, rue Saint-André des Arts et 6, rue du Pont de Lodi à Paris. Du 26 mai au 25 juillet 2015. Vernissage le mardi 26 mai de 19h à 21h30.
Bruce Nauman, "Opened Eyes" (from the series Infrared Outtakes), 2006, ink-jet print, 48.3 x 71.1 cm.
© Bruce Nauman / ADAGP, Paris 2015 Courtesy the artist