Whilst in Paris for my summer vacation, I visited La Flûte Gana, a bakery run by the three daughters of the famous baker Bernard Ganachaud. I bought my bauguette and with some time to spare, I decided to take a stroll through the peaceful garden at Père Lachaise cemetry. My unplanned stroll led me to the tomb of Arman, a French-born American artist best known for his “accumulations” and destruction/recomposition of objects. The chance ‘encounter’ incidentally brought to mind of an exhibition which I visited barely a months ago: Martial Raysse’s retrospective at the Palazzo Grassi. Martial Raysse, Arman, and a few other renowned French artists founded the group founded the group Nouveaux Réalistes in the 1960s.
Unlike Arman, Martial Raysse’s career in the United States was brief. Overlooked for a time because of his change into figurative painting, Martial Raysse is now the subject of important retrospective, which aims to look both forward and backward, by taking an approach to Martial Raysse’s work that is not chronological, but by examining it from a contemporary angle, in other words in the light of its most recent developments.
The exhibition covers every aspect of the artist’s work: from his small sculptures, which range from simple figures to games played with himself, through the drawing as work of preparation and his films that he uses to convey his libertarian ideas, to the pictures that make up his latest work. Curator Caroline Bourgeois also punctuated the exhibition with works that are in a way self-portraits, reflecting the incredible demands the artist has made on himself and the loneliness he has had to endure in order to move forward in his work.
Martial Raysse, the exhibition runs until November 30, 2015 at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice
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