Exhibition / Museum
Women in Abstraction19 May - 23 Aug 2021
Photographie de Lynda Benglis en pleine création (détail), à l’origine publiée dans le magazine « Life » (1970). © Henry Groskinsky © Lige Inc.
The exhibition sets out to write the history of the contributions of women artists to abstraction, with one hundred and six artists and more than five hundred works dating from the 1860s to the 1980s.
"Women in Abstraction" provides an opportunity to discover artists who represent discoveries both for the specialist and for the general public. It showcases the work of many of these women who suffer from a lack of visibility and recognition beyond the frontiers of their countries. Reviewing their specific contribution to the history of abstraction, the exhibition focuses on the careers of artists who were sometimes unjustly eclipsed from the history of art.
Far from being a mere catalogue, the exhibition reveals the decisive turning points that marked this development, the specific contexts for creation, the research conducted by the artists, individually or in groups, as well as the founding exhibitions. Transcending the traditional reductionist hierarchies between high and low art, the exhibition presents a history that includes dance, the decorative arts, photography and cinema, with a museography that is punctuated with many documents, including films. The exhibition is multi-discipline with a global approach, including modernities from Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, telling a story with multiple voices.
Most exhibitions devoted to the history of abstract art have often downplayed the fundamental role played by women in the development of this plastic language. The latest historiographic advances as illustrated by the many recent monographs and thematic exhibitions now enable us to re-evaluate the importance of their contribution. This exhibition overturns several historical presuppositions concerning the chronology of abstraction and questions the old historical schemas, without however seeking to re-write a new one.
Finally, "Women in Abstraction" integrates the history of feminism in the 1970s with the battles waged by artists and great theoreticians, and questions the legitimacy of the concept of "woman artist", taking into account the positions of the artists themselves, with their complexities and their paradoxes. In fact, many have positioned themselves beyond gender, while others lay claim to a "feminine" art. Beginning with the observation that the history of art is constantly rewritten with the help of new narratives, "Women in Abstraction" presents another history of abstraction, with a view to a future rewriting of the history of art in which the artists presented can be definitively integrated. With this in mind, a symposium is organised during the exhibition with the Aware association.
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