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Vuitton Foundation: contemporary art to look at our history


Contemporary art is often perceived as elitist and not very accessible (even aggressive by some, we have unfortunately seen it recently. Two everyday objects in the center of a circle, a pompous name to the whole and hop, good wild analysis Ladies and gentlemen! But for a few overvalued smokers, what a pity to miss out on so many talented (sometimes visionary) artists. Louis Vuitton foundation, inaugurated with great fanfare almost a year ago, wanted and supported by businessman Bernard Arnault, is one of these new French museums dedicated to the popularization of contemporary art.

And what a museum! Huge egg of wood, glass and steel at a certain angle (an egg full of lives) or the gigantic prow of a conquering ship under another (with an elite army on board), the building imagined by the American super-star architect Franck Gehry impresses. Too many, some argued at the opening. Eccentric mistress of the king of luxury, others hissed. It is therefore perhaps time, a year after the controversies, to return there with a calm eye.

An ambitious setting

Yes, the building dazzles. But, why cry in the face of excellence? Wasn't the latest creation of the creator of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao built on private funds? So why spoil the fun?

Located in the heart of the Bois de Boulogne, the modern towers of La Défense on one side, the old Paname on the other, a stone's throw from the Jardin d'Acclimatation: the work fits perfectly into the wooded decor. It imposes some but should not intimidate the neophytes, on the contrary. The ticket is at the normal price of a Parisian entrance, the staff is smiling and helpful (a detail but, so many haughty gallery owners in the city, since one is not an identified potential buyer; so many employees satisfied in many public museums).

Contemporary art: an atypical eye on history

The works - another criticism of the opening - are not extremely numerous in relation to the available space. But, precisely: they all take advantage of the space offered to better engage the viewer (which is the point of art, isn't it?) Instead of bombing in the industrial mode in order to dress his Facebook, everyone can here take the time to really observe, to be shocked or moved. The monumental triptych of Gilbert and George, composed of three immense photographs ('Class War', 'Militant', 'Gateway'), for example, questions the place of youth (and no doubt of homosexuality) in society, on two sections of walls. Puerto Rican artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla play with the codes of comic books, their Captain America mingling with American GI's to better question the disheveled patriotism and the new colonialism. In total darkness, in a room entirely dedicated to the installation of Christian Marclay ('Crossfire'), visitors literally find themselves caught between four fires. On each wall, videos of shootings from famous films ('Nikita', 'Rambo', ...), the sound of guns becoming an oppressive, threatening symphony. How, of course, not to think of American news. We touch the buffet on the way out, to verify that a stray bullet ... Andy Warhol is there too, with his portraits of a vanished New York fauna, deceptively futile. The eternal prince of street art Basquiat and his colorful and sometimes violent patchworks, like the street. Many video and sound installations by artists begging to be known to the general public, questioning our relationship to everyday life, to consumerism. To the difficulty of the bond, intimate and global.

Large terraces flooded with light and benches, to encourage relaxation and reflection between each level covered. On the top floor, a sort of vessel placed there, as if landed by chance, made of plants, rocks and even lost sneakers ('Where the slaves live', by Adrian Villar Rojas). Understanding is not the goal. To feel the strangeness, to identify it, is already a beautiful awakening of the senses and of the critical spirit.

Ask, look, think

With these distinct and atypical constituents that are the works of artists, with its architectural foundations that are both powerful and dreamlike, the building itself is a work of contemporary art. It surprisingly invites zenitude, whereas the works presented mainly speak to us of the turpitudes of current society and that its materials could have made it cold.

Bet won, do we want to say.

We impatiently await the rotating exhibitions and we begin to imagine the result that such a case would produce (and vice versa) on the works of a Sophie Calle, an Erwann Tirilly or a Mona Hatoum, for example, carriers they also have a certain look at our immediate history.

In short, do not hesitate to discover this proud contemporary vessel of knowledge and introspection (two values ​​recommended in these troubled times). The slightly too conspicuous 'LV' of the entrance, which could make you think of the flashy sign of a bling-bling group, quickly disappears from our mind - after a nervous tic at the start - in front of the obvious quality and the place , and the artists represented.

Make it your own: art should not remain the domain of a few. It would be a shame to be satisfied, once a year, with a crowded and often disappointing White Night, while in the Bois de Boulogne, such an affordable setting is available to your curiosity all year round. It is also another approach to history. The one we are experiencing right now.

Frédéric L'Helgoualch is the author of Deci-Delà (since nothing goes as planned).


Video: Fondation Louis Vuitton, histoire dune construction exceptionnelle (December 2021).