The artist professes with a smile that the present exhibition features his “entire painted œuvre”. It is a statement undoubtedly not far from the truth, for the show spotlights the theme of “painting” that is common to all Lavier’s chantiers and which finds expression here in a variety of media: film, sculpture, picture and painted mirror.
Given the show’s setting in a suite of former apartment rooms dating from the 19th century, Bertrand Lavier has conceived a contrasting overture in which a piano—the ultimate symbol of middle-class western culture—painted with his “touch” stands opposite one of his Ndebele pictures, which makes reference to the colourful geometric style of wall painting practised by the eponymous South African tribe.
Through Lavier, paintings that previously only existed inside strip cartoons become real works of art under the title of Walt Disney Productions . What Mickey and Minnie once examined in a modern art museum is now exhibited by Lavier in the next room of our exhibition.
It was never a matter of chance but only a matter of time before an original by Van Gogh would be exhibited alongside a Lavier. That day has come. The Self-Portrait with Pipe and Straw Hat, 1887, is presented opposite the mirror painted by Lavier with the “Van Gogh touch”. Yes, this self-portrait by Van Gogh, executed with the aid of a mirror, is now reflected in a painted mirror by Lavier.
The title of the exhibition, “L’affaire tournesols”, seems to give a double nod, firstly of course to Van Gogh and his famous Sunflowers (in French, Les Tournesols), but also to L’affaire Tournesol (The Calculus Affair), one of the volumes in the Tintin series by Hergé.
Bice Curiger, exhibition curator
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