CHAPELLE LAENNEC /
PARIS
 
« FAIRE AVEC »
 
Text
François-Henri Pinault
 
ON THE OCCASION OF THE THIRTY-FOURTH EDITION OF THE EUROPEAN HERITAGE DAYS, IN SEPTEMBER 2017, THE 40 RUE DE SEVRES, HEADQUARTERS OF KERING AND MAISON BALENCIAGA, OPENED TO THE PUBLIC. A SELECTION OF WORKS FROM THE PINAULT COLLECTION, ENTITLED “FAIRE AVEC”, WAS PRESENTED IN THE CHAPEL OF THE FORMER LAENNEC HOSPITAL.
 
<br> <div class="col m-10 pull-right align-right"> <span class="lieu">CHAPELLE LAENNEC /</span><br> <span class="lieu">PARIS</span> </div> <br><br><br> <div class="col m-10"> <span class="title">« FAIRE AVEC »</span><br> </div> <div class="col m-4 auteur pull-right noclick"> <div class="inner"> <div class="white"> <a class="switch">Text</a><br> <b>François-Henri Pinault</b><br> </div> </div> </div> <div class="clear"><br><br><br></div> <span class="alinea"></span> For the second consecutive year, the chapel of the former Laennec hospital, built during the reign of Louis XIII and now the headquarters of Kering and Balenciaga, will be open to the public during the Journées européennes du patrimoine [European Heritage Days]. It was important to me that this masterpiece of French seventeenth-century architecture be accessible once again to the greater public, and we hope that Parisians and international visitors alike will attend as eagerly and in as great a number as in 2016. <br><br> <span class="alinea"></span> Once again, I decided to mark this event with an exhibition of a selection of works from the Pinault Collection. Indeed, the setting proved perfectly fitted to the presentation of contemporary art. In Venice, at Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, and soon in Paris, at the Bourse de Commerce, the Pinault Collection has demonstrated time and time again that historic heritage and contemporary art can be presented alongside one another, such that they can even enter into a fruitful dialogue with each other. <br><br> <span class="alinea"></span> The artists included in the exhibition “Faire avec” [Doing with] all have a shared intention: they strive to anchor their works in the reality of our current world, where they find inspiration and material in their local environment. Descendants of Marcel Duchamp and heirs to the artistic revolution he started in the early twentieth century, they are gleaners of recycled objects, which they then use in their work. <br><br> <span class="alinea"></span> Another common factor among these artists: none of them is European—they are Indian, Ghanaian, Korean, Chinese, and African-American. This diversity reaffirms that the capitals of contemporary art, for centuries located in the Western world, are now scattered around the globe, in an open network of ideas, art, material assets, and people. If globalization implies certain risks, it also represents an extraordinary opportunity for humanity and culture to progress. <br><br>
Chen Zhen <br><i>Cocon du vide,</i> 2000 <br>Chinese abacus, Buddhist rosary beads, Chinese chair, metal <br>90 × 70 × 220 cm
 
El Anatsui

<span class="alinea"></span> Two works by El Anatsui, <i>Depletion</i> and <i>New Layout,</i> were presented at Palazzo Grassi in 2011 as part of the exhibition “The World Belongs to You.” On this occasion, El Anatsui explained, “When I began using the aluminum bottle caps, I thought that they wouldn’t occupy me for a long time; but today I feel like a painter who has relied exclusively on a single technique throughout his career. The most surprising aspect of working with these ’cloths’ is that each time one of them is displayed, we experience an entirely new work. The exhibition itself becomes part of the creative process. They become, so to speak, raw materials that can take on an innovative new dimension. Ideally the sculpture should become animated and move gently when the wind blows.” <br> <br> <i>Excerpt from a conversation with El Anatsui by Gerard Houghton, catalogue of the exhibition “The World Belongs to You,” presented at Palazzo Grassi, in 2011 (Milan: Electa, 2011).</i> <br><br>
El ANATSUI <br><i>New Layout,</i> 2009 <br>Aluminum liquor bottle caps, copper wire <br>225 × 303 × 15 cm
 
Subodh Gupta

<span class="alinea"></span> Subodh Gupta was born in 1964 in India, where he lives and works today. Very Hungry God appears at first to be an immense, naturalistic skull, complete with its frontal bone and orbital and nasal cavities. Yet the sculpture is in fact composed of cooking utensils, methodically disposed to create this perfect illusion. The viewer should examine this sparkling trompe-l’oeil from different perspectives and positions: up close, when they risk seeing only ordinary cooking utensils, and from far away, where they might lose all sense of scale and forget the ruse or device. Gupta brings together two distant longitudes: this gleaming vanitas embodies a Western art-historical tradition, while his use of domestic, banal household objects borrows from his Indian environment. By reinvesting this highly symbolic imagery, Gupta endows an allegory of death with the vitality of life. <br> <br> <i>Colin Lemoine, excerpt from the catalogue of the exhibition “Art Lovers - Stories of Art in the Pinault Collection” presented at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco, in 2014 (Paris: Lienart, 2014).</i> <br><br>
 
Subodh GUPTA <br><i>Very Hungry God,</i> 2006 <br>Stainless steel structure covered in steel cooking utensils (around 3,000), polished steel <br>320 × 280 × 330 cm
 
David Hammons

<span class="alinea"></span> David Hammons was born in 1943 in the United States, where he now lives and works. His work revolves around his investigation of African-American identity. This heir to Arte Povera and Nouveau Réalisme gathers abandoned, found, and recycled objects, granting them the status of art in his installations. In the street, he collects fragments of debris, hair, cigarettes, and basketball hoops, absorbing their rhythms and colors to metaphorically denounce the exclusion that affects so many sections of the population. In his <i>Forgotten Dream,</i> a forgotten or unachievable dream is represented by the vintage wedding dress, floating in the air above the viewer suspended from an iron wire: a symbol of the quest for a lost beauty. <br> <br> <i>Excerpt from the catalogue of the exhibition “The Pinault Collection: A Post-Pop Selection”, presented at Palazzo Grassi in 2006 (Milan: Skira, 2006).</i> <br><br>
 
David HAMMONS <br><i>Forgotten Dream,</i> 2000 <br>Cast iron, vintage wedding dress <br>470 × 90 × 90 cm
 
Chen Zhen

<span class="alinea"></span> Chen Zhen, who studied at both the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris and the Shanghai Drama Institute, was deeply interested in the connections between Western culture and traditional Chinese philosophy. His <i>Chaise de concentration</i> was based on the idea that “health relies, in the end, on achieving an equilibrium, an internal peace, and a universal compassion,” he explained. “It requires individual and social self-reflection and meditation, a cleansing of the soul and the body.” The <i>Chaise de concentration</i> is a meditative exercise, an experiment in emptying out the mind, which in turn involves being more receptive and attuned to the body and, in the artist’s case, to the pain caused by his illness. <br> <br> <i>Judicaël Lavrador, excerpt from the catalogue of the exhibition “In Praise of Doubt,” presented at Punta della Dogana in 2011 (Paris: Beaux-Arts éditions, 2011).</i> <br><br>
 
Chen Zhen <br><i>Chaise de concentration,</i> 1999 <br>Wooden chair, chamber pots, steel, sound system <br>173 × 110 × 67 cm
 
Theaster Gates

<span class="alinea"></span> Theaster Gates was born in 1973 in Chicago, where he now lives and works. Gates works in a wide range of media, including sculpture, performance, installations, and interventions in urban environments, and activist practices. Along with being a visual artist, he is also an urban planner and community organizer, focusing on poor neighborhoods of Chicago with initiatives such as “Dorchester Projects”, for which he bought and restored vacant properties on the South Side, filling one building with thousands of books and archives and opening a restaurant. For the artist, Dorchester Projects creates an alternative, circular ecology, as it is financed by the profits from the sales of sculptures created from materials found on the property. <i>All Day I Stare at the Cross of Malevich</i> and Wish I Were a Painter is composed of pieces of a fire hose, evoking symbolically the civil rights protests of 1963 in Alabama, which were met with policemen armed with these very fire hose. <br> <br> <i>Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, from the booklet of the exhibition “Prima Materia,” presented at Punta della Dogana in 2013.</i> <br><br>
 
Theaster GATES <br><i>All Day I Stare at the Cross of Malevich and Wish I Were a Painter,</i> 2013 <br>Fire hose, wood <br>150 × 237 × 11 cm
 
Seung-Taek Lee

<span class="alinea"></span> Seung-Taek Lee was born in Korea in 1932. His work is influenced by the Japanese Mono-ha art movement, whose artists use nature as a setting and a material in their work, and by Minimalism. Lee explores a number of Korean traditions in his work, including in <i>Godret Stone</i>, an early piece produced while the artist was still a student. While looking at a traditional Korean weaving loom, Lee became intrigued by the way in which the stones used by the machine were attached by a rope, wondering what would happen if a stone were so fragile that it bore the imprints of rope after it was untied. These types of questions have led him to pursue his experiments around the different properties of materials : Lee also creates paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, and performances, often bringing these different media together within a single work. <br> <br> <i>From Hans Ulrich Obrist, Kyung An, and Mónica de la Torre,</i> Seung-Taek Lee <i>(London: Lévy Gorvy Publications, 2017) and Hee-young Kim, </i>Drawing the Space of Conversation,<i> catalogue of the exhibition “Seung-Taek Lee, Drawing,” at the Hyundai gallery in Seoul, 2015.</i> <br><br>
Seung-Taek LEE <br><i>Godret Stone,</i> 1958 <br>Stone, wood, rope <br>49 × 73,5 × 9 cm
 

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