KEWENIG is pleased to present "Après", bringing together the artists Christian Boltanski, Bertrand Lavier and Angelika Markul in the Sant Feliu Oratory.
In this exhibition time and memory are questioned as a form of survival, challenged by the awakening of memory and the struggle against time. Marcel Proust, in In Search of Lost Time, contemplates deeply oblivion and the alteration of the notion of time. Hence the idea that the state of things does not only belong to the present. These three artists, Boltanski, Lavier and Markul based in Paris, somehow reclaim this rumination in Après. They play with the notion of time, transplanting the past into the present, moving between the line of reality and the artistic, courting with the idea of death to give life.
Après (2000) is the title of the work presented by Christian Boltanski, and gives the exhibition its name. The work immerses itself in an analysis of existence, its inevitable end and subsequent search. The artist started this journey by means of twelve photographs printed on linen, based on his work Les Ecoliers d'Oiron (1993), framed in metal poles and bases of the same material. At the moment in which the camera shot to portray the children, this reality became unalterable, the past will always be present. Thus, this means of expression represents the support through which to see, remember and preserve the memory. Boltanski, in his work, continously seeks the reflection of individual existence, often producing in the observer, a kind of melancholia related to the loss of innocence.
In 1993 Boltanski declared these words: "As an artist I possessed a mirror; whoever is reflected in the mirror lives, but the one who holds the mirror, the artist, is nothing. The mirror hides them. I am a machine that fulfills the wishes of others." This is where Bertrand Lavier comes into play, one of the most influential French artists of his generation. Since the early Eighties he has been questioning the relationship between art and reality, how to blur the line between painting and sculpture. The artist who once said "I make exhibitions, I do not make images, I have no studio", presents one of his well-known mirrors, which on this occasion will be painted in situ in the Oratory, days before the opening. A mirror "shows the image of what you think you see," confirms Lavier. But in his work, one cannot see, not even oneself. His thick brushstrokes of gel on the glass, reach a new dimension in "Après", forming a false projection. They create a fictional reflection, placing the viewer in motionless time, as if one's body were in a new atmosphere, floating between two worlds.
This journey culminates with Angelika Markul. This multidisciplinary artist's work abounds with the creation of video and installations, in which natural materials dominate and where the light is an essential element. For the occasion, the artist has selected an installation of felt, wax and rope which has been placed on the altar above a piece of blue neon which illuminates it. This work is part of her "Excavations of the Future" project (2016). After travelling to Mexico and visiting the ceremonial architecture of Mesoamerica, in Teotihuacán, there was born in her the need to evoke these places and represent their symbolism, to find the balance between the temporary stratum that separates the natural from the intangible. The search starts for the image that is hidden from the human eye, moving through the space before the Après.
Christian Boltanski, born in 1944 in Malakoff, France, is one of the most renowned contemporary artists. He has represented France at the Venice Biennale in 2011 and has participated on three occasions at the Documenta in Kassel. His work has been exhibited in major museums and international institutions such as the MoMA, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, París; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Espace Louis Vuitton Munich (2017); Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires (2017); Teien Art Museum Metropolitan, Tokyo (2016) ; Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris ( 2005); Museo Nacional Bellas Artes, Santiago de Chile (2014) ; Palais de Tokyo, París (2014) – amongst many others.
Bertrand Lavier, born in Châtillon-sur-Seine, France in 1949, lives and works in Paris. He is a self-taught artist who works in sculpture installation and painting. He worked as a landscape gardener before forming part of his first collective exhibitions around 1971. Since then his work has been regularly exhibited in renowned international museums such as Kunstmuseum Luzern, Luzern (2017) ; Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz (2016) ; Palais de Tokyo, París (2016) ; Centre Geroges Pompidou, París (2012) ; Musée d’Art Moderne de St Etienne (2011) ; Fondation Vincent van Gogh, Arles (2014- 2015) ; Villa Medici, Roma (2009) ; Musée d’Orsay, París (2008) ; Musée du Louvre, París (2005) ; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2002) ; Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva (1997) ; M.C.A. San Diego (1999) ; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Kunsthalle Bern ( 1992) –amongst others.
Angelika Markul, born in Szczecin, Poland, in 1977, lives and works between France and Poland. She graduated in the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris in 2004. In 2016, she was awarded the COAL du Art et Environment Prize for her Tierra de Fuego project. In 2017 she received the MAIF prize for contemporary sculpture for Mylodon de Terre. Her work has been exhibited at the Jewish Museum, New York (2016) ; National Art Museum of China, Beijing (2015); CSW Zahme Ujazdowski, Warsaw (2016); Palais de Tokyo, París (2014); Museo Sztuki, Poland (2009) ; Domaine de Chamarande, Chamarande (2013) ; MAC/VAL, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Val-de-Marne, Vitry sur Seine (2017) ; Fondation Cartier, París (2005) –amongst others.