A tribute to Iris Clert Gallery (1956-1972)
Arman, Klaus Geissler, Yves Klein, Ad Reinhardt, Jean Tinguely and the archives from the Joël Brunerie collections
Iris Clert gallery opened in February 1956 at 3 rue des Beaux- Arts in the parisian neighbourhood of Saint Germains des Près which was then known as a home for avant-garde galleries. The rivalry between Paris and New-York at the time made Parisian galleries very cautious about presenting emerging artists. Iris Clert’s spectacular way of conducting her gallery, her total absence of artistic exclusivity and her incredible eclecticism in staging her exhibitions made it a unique space of expression for dozens of major artists of the Paris scene.
Clert’s confidence in the fact that an artistic manifestation doesn’t have to be judged aesthetically on its tangible realization but on the genuineness of its motivation, led her to organize such iconic exhibtions as pioneer performance artist Jean-Jacques Lebel’s first exhibition in 1957, Klein’s Le vide (The Void) in 1958, and two years later Arman’s exhibition Le plein (Full-Up), where the gallery space was filled with trash. For Takis ‘s Man in the Space exhibition, the british poet Sinclair Beyles was suspended on a metal rod, ranting: “I’m not a human being, I am a work of art by Takis”.
Between 1962 to 1975 Iris Clert published a two page newspaper titled Iris Time-Unlimited. Replacing the traditional invitation, each issue announced upcoming shows, including critics reviews, Indian horoscope and reactions of famous guests at the vernissage.
Inventor of the “Venice Biennale off” in 1962 where she exhibited her avant-garde projects in a 17th century palazzo, discoverer of some of the most important artists of the 1950’s and 1960’s, and founder of a mobile museum with her plexiglass heavy truck the Stradart, Iris Clert died in 1986 on the French Riviera, forgotten by most. Nevertheless, the self-proclaimed ‘Most advanced gallery in the world,’ which offered the opportunity to ‘buy today the art of tomorrow,’ undoubtedly left a permanent mark into art history.
The gallery's first major exhibition in April 1957, was called Micro-Salon d’Avril . The exhibition consisted of over 250 artworks, no larger than a postcard, by over a hundred artists. It featured works by Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Hans Hartung and Klein’s parents along side unknown young artists like Yves Klein, Arman, Jean Tinguely or Takis. The exhibition gained the 130sqft gallery considerable notoriety amongst Paris’ art scene, and would become a signature, also meant to exist in New York, Dallas or Berlin, in hotel rooms or ferry boat cabins following Clert’s peregrinations.
L’Inlassable Museum is pleased to stage a contemporary reenactment of Clert’s Micro Salon presenting over 50 small format works from 30 international artists.
With the works of:
Giulia Andreani, Bianca Argimon, Marcella Barcelló, Anya Belyat-Giunta, Camille Benarab-Lopez, Saïda Bettayeb, Nora Cohen, Matthew Craven, Stephen Dean, Anne Deleporte, Daniel Martin Diaz, James Gallagher, Nathanaëlle Herberlin, José Luis Landet, Frédérique Loutz, Gaspard Maîtrepierre, Simon Martin, James Rielly, Edgar Sarin, Anders Scrmn, Jeannie Weissglass, Marko Velk, Reinhard Voss, Axel Wilhite, Anaïs Ysebaert.
THE SPACE CONQUEST
Between mysticism and technology, Clert’s fascination for spatial exploration was omnipresent in the gallery’s choices. In this section of the exhibition, five contemporary artists explore the resonance of these celestial dimensions. With works by, Bianca Argimon, Marcella Barceló, Caroline Corbasson, Stephen Dean and a work
in progress by Anne Deleporte.