Bernar Venet in "Les formes de la pensée" at Fondation Maeght

29 June 2013 - 11 November 2013

Les formes de la pensée/peintre et philosophie, un récitat (Adventures of Truth: Painting and Philosophy, a narriative)
 
For its major summer exhibition of 2013, the Maeght Foundation gives carte blanche to philosopher and writer Bernard-Henri Lévy. On the theme of "Painting and philosophy," Bernard-Henri Lévy, artistic curator, offers us an itinerary made up of seven "sequences" in order to understand the age-old battle between philosophy and painting, sometimes rivals, sometimes allies. One hundred or so ancient and contemporary works from public and private collections, both French and international, are brought together in this exhibition event.
 
In August 2011, Olivier Kaeppelin, director of the Maeght Foundation, asked philosopher and writer Bernard-Henri Lévy to reflect on the question of the relationship between art and philosophy for the Foundation's summer 2013 exhibition.
 
On the relationship between painting and literature, there are plenty of works.  On the representation, in painting, of the very image of the philosopher, on the movement of thought, there have been exhibitions.
 
On the other hand, the question of knowing how philosophy works or hinders painting or, by contrast, how painting prolongs, revives or silences philosophy, the question of the battle between a philosophy whose first desires were to ban from the City artists automatically rejected to the side of the shadow or the simulacrum and between painting that quickly resisted, counter-attacked, even challenged the philosophy of the very territory where it reigned, this question remains unclear and concerns us here.
 

The exhibition offers a journey through these intellectual works that will unfold in seven "sequences":

First sequence : The Fate of the shadows.

Second sequence : Coup d'état technique.

Third sequence : The Royal Way.

Fourth sequence : Counter-Being.

Fifth sequence : Philosophy's tomb.

Sixth sequence : Revenge of Plato.

Seventh sequence : Plastemes and philosophemes.
 
Works from the Marguerite and Aimé Maeght Foundation's holdings and the Maeght family's collection, but also from many other museums as well as public and private collections in France and throughout the world.
 
A back and forth between ancient, modern and contemporary art, between a crucifixion by Bronzino and by Basquiat, a St. Veronica from the fifteenth century and its reinterpretation by Picabia or Jim Dine; between a Paul Chenavard painting claiming to illustrate Hegel and another by Joseph Kosuth claiming to exceed and to extend beyond Hegelianism. Such is the principle of an exhibition that could be read as a grand narrative of the soul and which the narrator will make no mystery about the subjectivity of his choices or his awe.
 
A catalogue-book, co-published by Maeght and Grasset, accompanies the exhibition. It contains reproductions, accompanied by corresponding notes of the hundred and some selected works. Extensive extracts from the Journal kept throughout the work by Bernard-Henri Levy. Setting the tone, as well, is a "Letter to Olivier Kaeppelin" by Bernard-Henri Lévy followed by a "Response to Bernard- Henri Lévy" by Olivier Kaeppelin.
 
And also a series of short videos filmed by Bernard-Henri Levy himself where we see contemporary artists (including Marina Abramovic, Miquel Barceló, Olafur Eliasson, Alexandre Singh, Huang Yong Ping, Jacques Monory, Anselm Kiefer, Gérard Garouste, Kehinde Wiley, Maurizio Cattelan, Zeng Fanzhi and Enrico Castellani) reading a page of philosophy (Plato, Hegel, Schelling, a fragment of the Talmud, etc.). Black and white. Artist facing the camera. In the location of their choice. These films, at the same time reinforcements and movement of thought, will bring through their words, another form of inspiration alongside that of the artwork.
 
For further information: www.fondation-maeght.com/