MRAC

"Honey, I rearranged the collection". Posters from the Lempert collection

Exhibition
from 1 July 2017 to 8 October 2017

Guest curator: Miguel Wandschneider.
In collaboration with Culturgest, Lisbon.

Including : Ben, Marcel Broodthaers, James Lee Byars, Hanne Darboven, Gino De Dominicis, Jean Dubuffet, Richard Hamilton, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Dieter Roth, Andy Warhol, Lawrence Weiner.

The exhibition Honey, I rearranged the collection, the title of which refers to a series of works by Allen Ruppersberg, presents part of the extraordinary Lempert collection that has been carefully put together over more than fifty years, an atypical and unique collection approaching artistic creation through an alternative medium: posters.

Why did so many artists—especially from the 1960s onwards—produce so many posters, mainly to advertise their own exhibitions, while refusing to let this means of communication fall into the hands of others (designers, galleries, institutions)? Why have so many artists continued to produce posters in the age of electronic communication, when the poster has been superseded and rendered obsolete by media that offer a faster, cheaper and more effective way of promoting exhibitions?

In their posters, these artists bring to the fore the concerns, ideas, languages and attitudes that characterise their work at a given moment. Yet it is not a simple game of reflections. For many of them, posters are not solely governed by their artistic practice; instead they form an integral part of their oeuvre, they are valued in themselves and for themselves, besides (and frequently to the detriment of) their promotional function, and often in defiance of the criteria of communicational effectiveness.

Accordingly, when seen as a whole, the posters offer us a surprising and fascinating voyage through the work (and career) of these artists. As we make our way through the exhibition, we are taken on an equally adventurous journey through the history of art in the last 50 years.

NEIL BELOUFA. "Sustainable Development"

Exhibition
from 1 July to 22 October 2017

Curator: Sandra Patron

Franco-Algerian artist Neil Beloufa, born in 1985, recently exhibited at the MoMA in New York (2016), the ICA in London (2014), the Lyon Biennale (2015), the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2013), the Venice Biennale (2013) and at the Fondation Ricard in Paris (2014). He studied consecutively at the Cooper Union in New York, Cal Arts in Los Angeles and the ENSBA in Paris.

Through complex installations in which films, sculptures and scattered paintings engage in a dialogue and clash in space with no obvious hierarchy, Neil Beloufa has for the past few years been developing work that examines and questions our contemporary systems of representation. His work brings a vision both scathing and committed to the design future of our societies, where aesthetics and language are at the service of a reality that is shaped and exploited by an all-powerful, or at least that sees itself as such, entertainment industry.

The current proliferation of images and objects often leads to a nauseating voracity in which contemporary man pursues pseudo-innovations that restrain him in the end. The philosopher and novelist Tristan Garcia refers to this symptom as: the epidemic of things*. Such an epidemic appears to be at work in Neil Beloufa’s installations: films are deconstructed by displays that project and multiply images onto the walls, paintings and hybrid sculptures. Fully immersed in the artist’s installations, the viewers do not know if they have walked into some dystopian future or into the heart of our contemporary neuroses. However, what does seem evident, is that the artist acts in complicity with the viewer, by activating, appropriating and thereby evading the stereotypes that inhabit our everyday lives. The viewer is therefore placed in a situation that is both active and uncomfortable: first of all in a physical sense, as demands on the eye and the body are so strong they can cause dizziness; then conceptually, as what the artist proposes plays on a host of ambiguities, including, not least, the use of marketing tools to question them. The surveillance cameras as well as visual or hearing aids that are presented in many of his installations, re-enact the control mechanisms in our soft authoritarian society.

There is something taken out of the character of Ulysses in Neil Beloufa, a Ulysses who masters what the Greeks called Metis, a thought structure in which the rule is circumvented to better defeat it. Let there be no mistake, the disillusion shown by the artist goes with sincere commitment and genuine dedication to alternative models.

His solo exhibition at Mrac bears witness to these multiple challenges and unsettles its audience with its somewhat ambiguous title. Sustainable development is a deliberately dry and unattractive term. According to Wikipedia, sustainable development responds to present needs without compromising future generations. This term is used in particular by multinational firms that claim their ecological commitment through adverts, even when their responsibility for an over-polluted world is considerable. This double discourse - between harsh reality on one hand, and the creation of a soft and consensual discourse aiming to reduce violence on the other – is at the heart of the artist’s proposal, who organises for this exhibition a game around the multiple paradoxes that inhabit our reality.

In a space with no natural light which looks like a sanitized airport hall, the artworks form a landscape playing on antagonisms: a high-tech bar seemingly welcoming us for a drink turns out to be a customs counter controlling and excluding visitors; a group of sofas seemingly inviting us to rest suggests strange high-tech beds for refugees; political tags on the wall from Iran, where the artist shot his upcoming film, become Orientalist decorative elements emptied of their transgressive message. In the film Monopoly, a group of teenagers play this world-famous game and distribute the territory of Ukraine between themselves with a great deal of ingenuity, power of negotiation and undeniable speculation, as though, through the game, capitalist society orchestrated from childhood a training and familiarization to its dynamics and practices.

With Sustainable Development, Neil Beloufa puts together with no doubt a dark exhibition in a dark world. His exhibition plays with antagonisms between originality and standardisation, between the body and its virtual avatars, between violence and marketing, between domination and emancipation.


* in Tristan Garcia Form and Object– A Treaty of Things, 2011

PAULINE ZENK. "Gravitation"

Exhibition
from 1 July to 8 October 2017

Curator : Sandra Patron

Using the traditional mediums of painting and drawing, Pauline Zenk examines our individual and collective memory and our way of constructing our relationship with the world. Behind her work, the artist researches and collects images from the internet and magazines, as well as from public and private archives. Her paintings, which seek to bring out images entrenched in the collective memory, operate through a prolific dialogue with photography – and more broadly with images as produced in our contemporary societies.

The series Gravitation is inspired by archives from the Spanish migration to south-western France during the first half of the 20th century. The double meaning of the term ‘gravitation’ should be understood here as both the gravity of a complex human situation that drives populations to flee their country of origin, and as the earth’s gravity, that simultaneously keeps us on the ground, on earth, and at the same time produces movement, the ebb and flow, of both men and tides. And indeed, beyond the diversity of the subjects addressed by the artist in her different series, the body is at the core of the work: bodies in movement in group sporting activities with the series The difficulty of a first flying lesson (2016); female bodies naked on the internet (Nudes, Doppelgaenger) or exhausted bodies of migrants crossing the countrysides and searching for desirable new horizons. In this way Pauline Zenk proposes an empathetic point of view of our personal difficulty in existing, our complex relationship between originality and the ordinary, the public and the private.

The brushwork of the paint that is at first glance classical, makes use of its own limits, and the treatment is rough in places: a canvas cut in the centre, causing the female portrait shown to be truncated; another canvas is torn, re-enacting the symbolic rupture of these fates plagued by history. Each part of the artist’s research is approached through series, conventional postures are used until there are no more. More than ‘portraits’, for Pauline Zenk’s work the word should be ‘figures’, and therefore archetypes of our body as a metaphor for our relationship with the world, a relationship that endlessly oscillates between the desire for singularity and the need to be part of a group.

Pauline Zenk (born in Marburg in Germany in 1984), lives and works in Toulouse, and studied at the Muthesius University in Kiel in Germany, and afterwards at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in the Netherlands. In 2017, she was the winner of the Grand Prix Occitanie de l’Art contemporain presented at Lieu-Commun in Toulouse. She recently exhibited at the Whart gallery in Toulouse, as well as at the BADESC Cultural Foundation in Brazil, the Satura Gallery in Genoa in Italy and the Muséo de Santa Catarina in Florianopolis (Brazil).

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

OPENING HOURS

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July and August: from Tuesday to Friday: 11am-7pm
Weekends: 1pm-7pm
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PRICES

5 € basic entrance fee
3 € reduced entrance fee:
Students, groups of more than 10 people, “Maison des Artistes” members, more than 65 years old
Free:
art and architecture students, young people under 18 years old, journalists, job seekers, recipients of Minimas Sociaux (French state benefits), those receiving basic social security allocations or adult disability allowances, members of ICOM and ICOMOS
Annual season ticket: 20€ per year

Payments accepted: Cash, CB and Check

DIRECTIONS

MUSÉE RÉGIONAL D'ART CONTEMPORAIN
OCCITANIE / PYRENEES-MEDITERRANEE
146, avenue de la plage - BP 4 - 34 410 Sérignan
0033 467 323 305
museedartcontemporain@laregion.fr


Agrandir le plan
By car: A9, exit Béziers-est, D37 or A9, exit Béziers-ouest, D19 > Follow signs for Sérignan.
GPS : latitude : 43.2804, longitude : 3.2809

By bus: From Béziers Station > Bus line 16, way of Valras > Sérignan Stop 'Promenade'
Click here to view bus timetables:
http://www.beziers-transports.com/ftp/FR_documents/L16.pdf

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MUSEUM

Situated at the heart of Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée in the town of Sérignan, close to the Mediterranean Sea, the regional Museum of contemporary art is a must-see cultural and tourist attraction. There are temporary exhibitions and permanent collections amply accommodated in some 2,700 m² of floor space. The different areas of the museum offer visitors the chance to see a rich and varied range of exhibits in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Facilities include an exhibition room of graphic arts, exhibition areas, a video room, a reading room, a gift and bookshop. Activities are also organised throughout the year for different groups of people.

COLLECTION

The exhibition collection at the regional Museum of contemporary art of Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée comprises paintings, photographic images, sculptures and installations which offer visitors an insight into the most creative period for contemporary art during the 1960’s. Several extensive collections of work emphasise certain periods in the history of art such as Abstract Landscapes, Supports/Surfaces, Figurative and Narrative Art, Conceptual art, and the present day artistic scene. Once a year, the museum refreshes its exhibitions to highlight its latest acquisitions and offer new layouts to visitors.

BUILDING

The museum is housed in an old winery and was inaugurated in September 2006. One area on the ground floor is dedicated to experimental works while upstairs, generously spacious exhibition rooms are bathed in natural light. There is a graphic art exhibition which is almost a museum in itself, presenting a collection of paper-based work in a softly-lit environment.
Throughout the museum, the artist, Daniel Buren, has placed coloured panels in all the windows as part of his work entitled “Rotation”. This creates visual effects both inside and outside the building. There is also, “Les Femmes fatales”, a large ceramic fresco created by Erró which is exposed on the external walls of the museum.
The bookshop stocks a large range of monographies, exhibition catalogues, books published by artists, first editions, theoretical essays as well as a range of DVD’s on contemporary art and design and architecture or on the work of specific artists. There is also a children’s area containing a unique selection of children’s books and educational games.

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