Centre Pompidou-Metz28 Apr - 20 Aug 2018
The event is over
10h - 18h, every days except tuesdays
Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz
The Centre Pompidou-Metz presents a major interdisciplinary exhibition devoted to creative couples, such as Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, Charles and Ray Eames. It explores the creative processes inspired by the passionate, complex and sometimes subversive love relationships of these pioneers of 20th century art and design.
Not to “encumber one’s life with too much weight, with too many things to do, with what is called a wife, children, a country house, an automobile”: the freedom-loving credo of Marcel Duchamp, that great representative of the modernist avant-garde, rejected the conventional idea of the couple for the sake of transforming art, identified with life, into a desiring machine. The erotic is the creative motor of this dynamic thought, “of the moment when you see differently, offering a new way of approaching what is before your eyes.” The relationship between two people becomes, like chess for Duchamp, “the movement of pieces eating one another”, a carnal and intellectual passion, a secret dyad such as the one he formed with the Brazilian artist Maria Martins, a process of revelation that brings to art an intensity that leads it to go beyond its limits.
Official, exclusive or open, these legendary couples involved painters, sculptors, photographers, poets, writers, musicians and dancers, and also designers and architects. They raised up architectures hitherto unprecedented. A machine for living in, a container of intimacy, the house now testified to the couple’s moods, transcending geometry to become a dwelling of shared immensities. These couples represent fruitful zones of exchange, confrontation and influence that nourish works, concepts and movements, such as the Orphism that crystallised around Robert and Sonia Delaunay, or the Rayonism of Larionov and Goncharova. Beyond the world of sense and sensibility, the exhibition reveals collaborations and partners the history of art has left in shadow, such as Benedetta Cappa, founder of Tactilism with her famous husband Marinetti. He was the first to recognise “the force and power of [her] genius, [her] work”, enjoining her to “work for yourself, for me, for us.”
The exhibition casts important light on the development of the thinking, the aesthetic forms and the mode of life of the leading figures of modern art. It is the very idea of modernity that is interrogated through the prism of the organic, protean and creative cell formed by the artist couple, which in this period of political crisis and recrudescent nationalism around the two world wars offers a space of liberty, a protective womb for “the interweaving of contraries and contradictions” that Tristan Tzara called for in the Dada Manifesto of 1918.