L'évènement Politiques de l'art - Centre Pompidou

L'évènement

Politiques de l'art

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Crédit photographique : © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI /Dist. RMN-GP / Philippe Migeat © Droits réservés

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Politiques de l'art

Musée

29 septembre 2016 - 2 avril 2017

de 11h à 21h
Musée - Niveau 5 - Centre Pompidou, Paris

Accès avec le billet Musée et expositions

Que peut être un « art politique » ? En s’engageant pour une cause, si noble soit-elle, l’art ne risque-t-il pas de se changer en instrument de propagande ? L’art peut-il pour autant rester étranger aux grandes luttes de son temps et renoncer à accompagner, voire à participer aux nécessaires mouvements de transformation du monde ?
Au Musée, la nouvelle session d’expositions-dossiers animant le parcours de visite des collections modernes apporte à ces questions des réponses délibérément fragmentées, reposant sur la singularité de cas d’études tirés des collections du Centre Pompidou au Musée...

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Commissaire : Mnam/Cci, Nicolas Liucci-Goutnikov

From room to room

Forms of activism during the 1960s - The power of the poster: less is more

The Sixties were characterised by a general challenge to the political and social order established after the Second World War. On both sides of the Atlantic, the new avant-gardes reacted to events by taking a stance. Part of their work was reflected in the history of political posters. An effective means of communication, the poster provided various aesthetic approaches and technical possibilities, such as lithographs, screen printing and offset. The artists who made use of them, often better known for their individual careers than for the collective venture they decided to join, found the...

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Adalberto Libera, ambiguities of Italian rationalism

Adalberto Libera (1903-1963) was a key figure in 20th century Italian architecture. Although his work after the Second World War included many major achievements, his early career illustrated the relationship between modern architects and the political powers. The architectural avant-garde and the Fascist regime both aimed to establish a modernist approach, and made mutual use of each other. The Fascist movement sought out modern architects so that they could use their talents to serve ideology; in return, the architects hoped for commissions, whether standard projects for facilities or bui...

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From Neo-Primitivism to Cubo-Futurism

"As the starting point of our art, we have taken the lubok [popular wood engraving], primitive art and the icon, because we are impressed by their more refined and direct perception of life, as well as the purely pictorial aspect." This was how Alexander Shevchenko described Neo-Primitivism, which established itself in Russia as a new, so-called Leftist national trend in around 1911/1912. Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova were two of its leading protagonists. They were interested in the peasant world (harvest-time, animals and the seasons) which they represented in a deliberately naiv...

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Art and Communist Party

The personal work produced by painters and sculptors close to the Communist Party was not limited to the standards defined by the socialist realist doctrine. At the Party's behest, Boris Taslitzky travelled to Algeria to sketch individual situations and political meetings, then used these to produce paintings inspired by French Romantic artists. Meanwhile, Les Repasseuses [The Ironers] by Simone Baltaxé, a young member of the editorial committee of the review Traits, evoked the legacy of Cubism through a subject with a social character. Lastly, Pablo Picasso, despite joining the Party on 5 ...

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Soviet architecture : asserting a new aesthetic

The Revolution of October 1917 was a powerful stimulus to intellectual life and architectural creation in Russia. The process of democratising social life fostered the development of Utopian architecture (Georgy Krutikov's Flying City, the spatial constructions of Ivan Leonidov and Iakov Chernikhov, the kinetic constructions of Anton Lavinsky, and the dynamic compositions of Kasimir Malevich and El Lissitzky). The transformation of technical systems and new forms of visual expression made the emerging Constructivism an invigorating principle, which renewed architectural thinking and broke w...

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Painting and exhibiting under the Occupation : "Young Painters of French Tradition"

Although the study trip to Germany promoted by Goebbels and undertaken in November 1941 by a few French painters and sculptors (including Vlaminck and Van Dongen) was a basis for an artistic collaboration policy, some artists decided to oppose the occupier by organising partisan events. Presented in May 1941 at the Braun Gallery, which specialised in photography, the exhibition entitled "Twenty Young Painters of the French Tradition" brought together in Paris the paintings of artists invited by the painter Jean Bazaine and the publisher André Lejard. These proclaimed the twofold legacy of R...

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The Situationist International

Formally created on 28 July 1957 in Cosio di Arroscia, the Situationist International (SI) arose from the merger of various avant-garde groups, including the Letterist International (LI) and the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus. Its founding document drafted by Guy Debord, the Report on the construction of situations…, laid down its revolutionary goals: "We believe the first thing to do is to change the world." The members of the SI – Michèle Bernstein, Giuseppe Pinot-Gallizio, Asger Jorn and Ralph Rumney – resolved to "undertake […] an organised, collective work, involving t...

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Ubu Roi, The grotesque tyrant

Making his first appearance in 1895 through the pen of the young Alfred Jarry, Father Ubu was the archetype of bourgeois fin-de-siècle covetousness, gluttony and hypocrisy. In Jarry's plays and writings, he embodied now a usurper-king eager to conquer Poland, now a doctor in pataphysics (the science of imaginary solutions), rapidly establishing himself as an icon of vulgar schoolboy absurdity. He even survived his creator, for numerous artists appropriated the character, who developed with each new political event in the 20th century. Jarry's writings were first of all illustrated by the au...

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The AEAR (Association of Revolutionary Writers and Artists)

The AEAR arose in 1932 in a context marked by recessions and the rise of totalitarian systems. Its development, which went hand-in-hand with the spread of Proletarian Internationalism, was stimulated by its members' fight against war and fascism. While the Association initially consisted of writers, in the Thirties it also began to attract numerous painters, sculptors, photographers, architects and film directors eager to be part of a revolutionary approach. Their artistic, political and social aspirations were expressed through various publications, including the review Commune. The debate...

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French-style socialist realism (1947-1953): a Party art

Based on a theory invented in the USSR, socialist realism was an art of propaganda designed for the masses, characterised by its obedience to academic standards and its ability to communicate "a historically solid representation of reality in its revolutionary development" (Moscow, 1934). Introduced into France by the ruling bodies of the Communist Party, represented by the painters André Fougeron and Boris Taslitzky, promoted by Louis Aragon and disseminated through the reviews Les Lettres françaises and Arts de France, French socialist realism arose with the Cold War and declined after th...

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Do not visit the Colonial Exhibition

Inaugurated on 6 May 1931 in the Bois de Vincennes by the President of the Republic, Gaston Doumergue, and Maréchal Lyautey, for six months the "International Colonial Exhibition" vaunted the benefits of colonisation, attracting eight million visitors.

One of the very few anti-establishment voices, the Surrealists, following on from their review Le Surréalisme au service de la Révolution, published two tracts put forward by André Breton. They also took an active part in the counter-exhibition "La Vérité sur les colonies" [The truth about the colonies] staged by the League Against Imperialis...

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The invention of factography

Created by Vladimir Mayakovsky in March 1923, LEF, the "left front of the arts", united various figures around a shared political project. A multidisciplinary platform bringing together artists and theorists, the group was backed up by a review entitled first LEF (1923-1925) then Novy LEF (“New LEF”, 1927-1928). Through the writing of Ossip Brik and Sergei Tretyakov, this promoted an art firmly rooted in real life: "factography". In the literary sphere, Tretyakov proposed replacing "artistic" literature with reports, interviews and assemblages of documents. This radical proposal, which went...

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Alexander Rodchenko's Workers Club

A few days after its official recognition by France, the USSR was invited to appear in the International Exhibition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in Paris, in the spring of 1925. Its presence involved many cultural, political and ideological issues, as the fledgling state wanted to assert its rich traditional culture as well as its adhesion to a new model: Communism. Constructivist artists and their followers were asked to exhibit their innovative work in numerous fields. Alexander Rodchenko was commissioned to produce a model unit for the workers' clubs then prevalent in the USS...

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Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944): the return to Russia (1914-1921)

When war was declared, Kandinsky returned to Moscow via Odessa at the end of 1914. He had recently published Looks at the Past, an autobiographical text providing a valuable account of the origins of abstract art. On his return to Russia, Kandinsky mainly produced drawings and watercolours, together with a series of "Bagatelles" (figurative watercolours) during a stay in Sweden. In 1917, when the Bolshevik Revolution had plunged the country into civil war and a large part of Kandinsky's possessions had been requisitioned by the State, he was summoned to collaborate with the Izo (Department ...

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Social housing: a challenge for Edouard Menkès

In the context of post-war shortages and precarious housing, it became urgent to devise an economic system enabling as many people as possible to live in decent accommodation. Immigrant workers were particularly affected, and a construction programme was launched in 1965 at the end of the Algerian war by Sonacotra (now Adoma), the national association for the construction of workers' accommodation. Claudius-Petit, the militant town and country planning theorist, Minister of Reconstruction under the Fourth Republic and President of Sonacotra from 1956 to 1977, tasked the architect Edouard Me...

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Team Ten

An informal group consisting of architects from various backgrounds (Alison and Peter Smithson, Candilis, Josic and Woods, Jaap, Bakema, Van Eyck, Hertzberger, and De Carlo), Team Ten arose from an internal conflict during the 1953 conference of the CIAM (International Congress of Modern Architecture) in Aix-en-Provence. Taking a new approach to the modernist legacy enshrined in the work of Le Corbusier, the group were vociferous critics of functionalism. They pointed out the limitations of the Athens Charter (CIAM, 1933) while advocating flexible, upgradable housing in line with the requir...

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The Rosta Windows

Between 1919 and 1922, when the newly-formed Soviet Russia was in the grip of civil war, Vladimir Mayakovsky produced satirical posters for Rosta, the national telegraph agency. Driven by the desire to create a new society, the joint goal of the Bolshevik powers and numerous avant-garde artists, Mayakovsky contributed to promoting unrest and propaganda on behalf of the new regime. Posters, newspapers, placards and slogans were the preferred weapons in this artistic and literary struggle. Printed daily in large numbers using stencils based on hand-painted originals, Rosta posters were stuck ...

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De salle en salle

The patriotic "lubok"

On 1 August 1914, Germany declared war on Russia. That year, the publishing house "Lubok of Today" asked several artists to create posters designed to galvanise the people against the German army. The quintessential model was the "lubok", which appeared in Russia in the 17th century: a popular print using the wood engraving technique. The works of Kasimir Malevich and Vladimir Mayakovsky exhibited here echo traditional "lubki" with their familiar, simplified forms, enlivened with bright flat tints and accompanied by punchy captions. With both artists we find the Russian peasant and "baba", ...

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Natalia Goncharova and Le Populaire: views of the working world

Their collaboration with Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes led Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov to move to Paris in 1917. Goncharova initially managed to live from their participation in projects designed for the stage, but financial difficulties soon forced her to seek additional work. Assisted by her friends in the Socialist Party, between 1932 and 1935 she produced a series of drawings for Le Populaire. A mouthpiece for the French Section of the International Workingmen's Association, the daily newspaper garnered a loyal readership through its minor news items and serialised novel...

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Documenting social life

After a decade of experimentation, photography in the Thirties was marked by a return to more socially-oriented subjects. The recession caused by the 1929 stock market crash, together with the assertion of class consciousness that led to the Front Populaire's victory in 1936, encouraged many photographers to take an interest in contemporary reality. While they immortalised France at work, they also focused on the living conditions of workers, farmers and marginal populations. For example, Marianne Breslauer, a German artist who came to study in Paris with Man Ray in 1929, provided evidence ...

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