17 03 2008

From the beginning of the month, I exhorted Elodie, Florent and Clément to go to Avignon before the 13th of january because it was the last day of the exhibition entitled « J’embrasse pas », at the Collection Lambert. The 12th, we were on the road for the gallery…


This exhibition was suddenly organized after a tragedy that happened last summer in this place, the Collection Lambert, in Avignon. It was a terrible act of vandalism that has been committed on a picture by Cy Twombly. Useless to point out, as the Collection Lambert did all the same, that « Cy Twombly became a double victim : first because of a vulgar kiss planted on one of his paintings that was preserved in the museum ; second, because – as Twombly said with irony – his name will be now linked to the one who painted a white canvas, kissed by a woman who though she was an artist, taking Twombly hostage in a media and judicial scandal… ».


The piece concerned is named « The Three Dialogues of Plato » and was made in 1977. It was the first time the Collection Lambert could present this indivisible set composed of three diptychs « Plato« , « Republic« , « Symposium« , and a triptych, « Phaedrus« . To represent these oppositions between profane love and spiritual love, and between physical love and platonic love, Cy Twombly decided to combine two big white canvases of identical size. While the first one was spattered with a red-ochre-and-pink spurt (passion, sex, flesh, the interior of the body), the second one was totally white, immaculate (purity, virginity). It is this painting that was vandalized on July, 19th because of the ignorance and the stupidity of a poor woman, narcissistic and simple-minded.


After this event, a lot of artists reacted immediately to indicate their indignation and to bring support, first by letters, and progressively, through propositions to show some pieces of their production that they thought might be considered a response to this scandal. They finally decided to create new works, especially for the exhibition. According to the Collection Lambert, « J’embrasse pas » sounds like a restriction, for example from the Ten Commandments, a ban that « will be posted as a notice in the entrance of every contemporary art museum, next to « I do not steal« , « I do not break« … ».


In spite of the context, I fully enjoyed the exhibition. I even saw 36 photographs from the collection « Cabinet of  » by Roni Horn !! I really like this series of clowns and for the first time I could appreciate them in real life… I find her work so close to Francis Bacon, and I love Francis Bacon !! Good point for her ! I also found some series by Nan Goldin and sometimes my emotion in front of her work cannot find the good limit between a photograph and the reality : of course she captures the straight even crude reality, and it is very hard to enter certain pictures, but she is also able to show the life of her friends with such intensity and poetry at the same time… Several works directly spoke about the kiss and made mouths, lips, red kisses intervene throughout the museum ; the others twisted these meanings, destroying the notion, even the act of kissing. For the latters, I retain in peculiar this video of Baptiste Croze, a student at Grenoble Fine Arts School : « Rougir » could be related with the works of Vito Acconci (body art in the 1970s) but with a few variations. Here Baptiste Croze uses a red lipstick as if he was using a brush or a pencil. As a painter, he covers his body with red (and not with kisses) but using his mouth as a tool. In this way, he totally destroys eroticism and sexual fantasy. It can be considered « a return to a more primitive painting, just like American Indian used to paint, according certain rituals, etc. Really good.




After the Collection Lambert, we decided to walk down the streets and we arrived in front of the Palais des Papes, The Popes’ Palace. This is a very beautiful monument and because of time we just visited the outside, but for sure the palace is home to some marvellous patrimonial pieces… For the next time ! The Popes’ Palace is the biggest Gothic Palace in the world, both a powerful fortress and a magnificient palace ; it was the seat of the Christian world in the 14th century. This exceptional monument bears the mark of the nine popes who succeded one another, the most famous of whom were Benoît XII and Clément VI. I am rather eager to go back to Avignon to visit this Palace…







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