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Can Art Be Bad...

October 09, 2014

By Florian

Contemporary Art… An interesting combination of words, where one word that can perfectly be defined and the other remains abstract. Defining a fragment of time and calling it contemporary makes perfect sense, but could the same be said about art? Well, certainly not contemporary art: while some might call a creation a work of genius (and therefore art in its purest form), others would simply define it as a mockery, a hoax or even the exact opposite of art. So let’s face it, art is personal, especially when it is contemporary.

I was invited to the opening of the Prix Meurice pour l’Art Contemporain (Meurice Prize for Contemporary Art) exhibition on October 8th, where the 6 preselected candidates expose a creation (or part of a creation) for everyone to see until October 26th. When arriving, I thought to myself: what is it that defines contemporary art today, and how is it so different from art of the previous centuries? Little did I know I was going to embark on a journey far from anything I had ever imagined…

Enrique Ramirez - Las Banderas

After giving all my attention to the charming and knowledgeable person that briefly introduced each of the 6 artists and their creations, one thing struck me: the concept of art has changed drastically. Not so long ago still, sculptures, drawings and paintings were ways to stop time and capture the instant in an ongoing and unstoppable countdown. A way to hit the pause button in time. Freezing the moment is still used today, and the selfie is a good and popular example. But would anyone dare to call it art? There’s no reason not to. But contemporary art, or so I witnessed during my Meurice Prize investigation, has drawn itself away from capturing the instant. Still bound to time though, it appears to go the exact opposite direction.

Mark Geffriaud - The Tide (La Marée)

In each of the 6 preselected artists, a common ground was noticeable: the will to use time and have it become a work of art. Time, in ancient days, was going too fast and people needed to seize the moment in a painting or a sculpture so as to say “stop the world, I want to get off for a while”. Is it because time is now too slow that artists want to transcend it and transform that intangible notion into art by using different means: chemistry, light, English courses or books and bookmarks? The 6 works of art exposed at Le Meurice might not unanimously please everyone, but a behind the scenes look at some of the artists and their ideas is always very interesting and could shed some light on the way we see their creations.

Hicham Berrada - Présage 2007 - en cours

The artworks displayed in the beautiful Le Meurice hotel are just “teasers” that go hand in hand with projects of a much bigger scale. And teasers is the exact word as all the projects from each of the 6 artists involve a film. What a coincidence! Or is it, based on the above reflection?

Enrique Ramirez exposes a small video with items filmed by a still camera placed above them. His bigger project is an artistic installation involving 4 videos inspired by popular game in South America where people have to climb a high pole using only their bare hands and feet.

Mark Geffriaud’s exposed artwork is more of a scenery involving volunteers. Book are taken from a pile and read silently in random places. His greater project is to create a film and a sculpture based on the Aymara tribe in South America.

Voluspa Jarpa -  En Nuestra Pequena Region De Por Aca

Hicham Berrada’s exposed work of art is based on chemistry. Physical elements such as copper, zinc, iron are bathed in a solution, creating a colorful and imaginary forest-like landscape over time. His project, called Natural Process Activation, is to create a well in the south of Morocco and an autonomous garden next to it, while filming it.

Chilean artist Voluspa Jarpa has gotten access to public archives from the CIA during the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. Her video is about how she learned English by studying only these archives, and her greater project involves recovering pictures of the disappeared which will then be exposed in a museum in Santiago de Chile.

Eloise Hawser - Expanded Camera

Eloise Hawser’s likes old objects of the pre-digital era. Her “expanded camera” project had her restore a very old camera which she will use to take pictures of a naked wall. Each morning, the pictures will capture the light. The teaser at Le Meurice is a miniature version of that project, without the old camera.

Charlotte Moth’s idea focuses on the architecture of Dutch architecture bureau Van den Broek en Bakema and their principle of suspension and equilibrium. In Le Meurice, a simple sculpture involving balance is shown, but her project is a movie on 2 of the bureau’s achievements: the city hall of Marl (Germany) and the Twin Beaches house in Canada.

Charlotte Moth - Untitled

All of the exposed works involve motion… and motion is time. What you see now is not what you will see tomorrow or the day after… It’s ever changing. Regardless of who will win the Prix Meurice Pour L’Art Contemporain this year, it is always interesting to take a closer look at Contemporary Art. Once again, because it is so personal, not all the works of art exposed at Le Meurice will immediately draw your attention in a positive way. While some will seem odd or useless, others might trigger something inside, or some will grow on you and seem more and more interesting as you look at them. Either way, between October 10th and 26th, we recommend taking a look at the exhibition for 3 simple reasons: because you might like the artwork and the artist’s vision and world, because it’s a way to support continuous artistic creations and because it’s a great opportunity to discover Le Meurice, an icon in Paris when it comes to luxurious accommodation and hospitality.

AND THE WINNER IS..... MARK GEFFRIAUD. Click here to know more

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