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Six exhibitions

Musee D'art Moderne de Saint-Etienne Metropole, Saint-Etienne

The exhibition devoted to Dennis Oppenheim (1938-2011) presents works created over the past 30 years through six particularly emblematic installations. Chung Sang Hwa was part of the Korean art scene in the 1970s; he has developed a highly personal body of abstract, geometric and monochromatic paintings. Local Line is a series of exhibitions, the theme for this 6th edition is formalism and it brings together the work of 4 young artists. In recent years Gianni Dessi' presents a series of recent large-format paintings and 7 sculptures, including the monumental Bianco e Nero. Veronika Holcova exhibits works on paper in which bright colours recall metaphysical landscapes. The group show Catalogue is an exploration of hypothesis on the basis of works by some international artistis.

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The exhibition devoted to Dennis Oppenheim (1938-2011), will offer French audiences an unprecedented opportunity to explore the art created over the past thirty years by this fabulous builder of forms and mechanisms, through six particularly emblematic installations.

The interest in the work of this American artist dates right back to the opening of the Museum of Modern Art: his works form part of the collections, and recent works have been included in group exhibitions. When he died unexpectedly in January, the artist had already developed the idea for the exhibition, with six installations set in distinct spaces. Each space relates to specific worlds: the body and ironic mimicry of life in Theme for a Major Hit (1974) and Table Piece (1975) in the central room; transformation to the point disappearance in Aging (1974); urban, decorative and exuberant sculpture with Splash Buildings (2009) in the hall, and finally, the interplay between architecture and sculpture in the outdoor installations Smokestack Buildings with Frozen Fireworks (2009) and Black (2007).

Dennis Oppenheim is an artist who defies any kind of classification or system. His meeting with Robert Smithson was one of the influences that focused his early work on Land Art (Annual Rings, 1968) then Body Art (Reading Position for Second Degree Burn, 1970). In these diverse practices using the landscape and the body, sculpture remained Dennis Oppenheim’s central concern. The artist says that exploration of spaces led to an awareness of his body, and experimentation with the body continued the idea of location within a space. These first forms of experimentation with “sculpture”, in which he left a mark on a space or a body, then found an incarnation in the creation of hybrid objects, monumental structures and installations involving surprising combinations. Later, Dennis Oppenheim began to create complex machineries that he documented with preparatory drawings at a later stage. The installations outside the museum demonstrate the way he played with of changes of scale, in the case of Black, as well as the public commissions that formed a recurring thread in his recent work, resulting in unnecessary and improbable architectural creations or monumental, inhabitable sculptures…

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue.



Chung Sang Hwa was part of the Korean art scene in the 1970s. He moved to Japan and then on to France until 1992, when he returned to live in Seoul. He has developed a highly personal body of abstract, geometric and monochromatic work. Based on concepts of the grid and covering, the artist’s meticulous technique plays a paramount role in shaping the work’s execution and its perception. He folds, sculpts, scalps, and then literally rearranges the zinc-based paint that he uses in multiple layers. This perfect mastery developed over years of experimentation is what makes Chung Sang Hwa’s paintings into organised spaces encouraging meditation in the pure oriental tradition. “The closer the viewers’ interest in the plastic visual details of the painting’s sensual surface, in the painter’s subtle interventions, and in the pictorial and physical methods he uses to structure his work, the closer they also come to another meditative and emotional domain of the artistic process, in other words poetry, the genuinely poetic strategy of the artwork”. Lorand Hegyi.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue.



A. Stella, Laura Ben Haiba, Nathalie Da Silva and Maëlle Vandenbergh.
The Local Line series of exhibitions, which began in February 2010, aims to offer a platform to young artists working in the Saint Etienne area. In parallel, the museum offers these artists access to its network of partners, enabling them to exhibit abroad. So following an exhibition in Belgrade in July 2010, the work of several Local Line artists will be presented at Korea’s Daejon Museum of Art from 24 May to 3 July 2011. The theme for this sixth edition is formalism, and it brings together the work of four artists who have developed a composite approach: the white “percepts” of A. Stella, the drawings of Nathalie Da Silva, the modules of Laura Ben Haiba and the constructions of Maëlle Vandenbergh.



Gianni Dessì was born in Rome in 1955 and was part of the post-Arte Povera generation that made a great return to pictorial art through painting, exploring its infinite possibilities. At the end of the 1970s, he collaborated with avant-garde theatre groups, whilst developing a style of impasto painting mixing various materials and generally organised around a dominant central element. He exhibits regularly in Italy and his works are present in numerous museums and international collections, such as the Groninger Museum, MoMA, and Les Abattoirs in Toulouse, but this exhibition in Saint-Etienne is his first solo show in France. The artist continually re-examines abstraction and its formal and three-dimensional confines. His painting is created though superimposed fields, colours and lights, and the artist goes beyond the traditional frame of the painting, also producing large-scale sculptures that exhibit the same thick paintwork. Building on his first experiments, in recent years he has created sets for theatrical and operatic performances. In Saint-Etienne, he will present a series of recent large-format paintings and seven sculptures, including the monumental Bianco e Nero (2006), a 3.5-metre crouching human figure seen from behind, carrying a black sphere.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue.



Veronika Holcova is a young Czech artist born in Prague in 1973, who was represented in the Micro-Narratives exhibition held in Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2008. This will be her first monographic show to be held in a French museum. The prints and drawings department will present an exhibition of her works on paper, showcasing her controlled technique, in which bright colours (often in oils) recall the metaphysical landscapes of her paintings on canvas. Imaginary creations vie for nature’s favours, and beings in unstable equilibrium try to escape to nowhere, as the artist invents a universe in which fairy tales threaten to turn to nightmares at any moment. These drawings reveal an imagination that feeds on the small anxieties of our daily existence, the tensions that emerge from a reality rewritten according to intimate experience.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue.


(10 May 2010 – 18 September 2011)

This exhibition has its roots in a specific occasion and several hypotheses. The occasion was provided by the Museum of Art and Industry’s event dedicated to Manufrance (Manufacture Française d'Armes et Cycles), the Saint-Etienne company established to manufacture weaponry and bicycles. The museum’s exhibition charts “a century of innovations” (1885-1985) both in terms of the way Manufrance sold its products and the way its production and administration were organised. Of all this, it was the famous mail order catalogue invented in 1887 that made the largest impact both on the history of commerce and on the collective memory. For the company, the catalogue represented an ingenious system of direct sales, allowing it to contact customers directly in their own homes without going through an intermediary, but for its readers, it presented a condensed version of the world in images, with a combination of order and abundance that provided wonderful fuel for the imagination.

Against this background, several theories emerged, the first being that the Manufrance catalogue could be considered an emblematic space that fostered a certain dialectic of desire and the image over several generations. The second hypothesis was that this catalogue, which came into being at the height of the industrial revolution, constituted a means of representation playing the same role for commercial society as the encyclopaedia did for the Age of Enlightenment.

These two hypotheses led in turn to a third: that a certain cataloguing thread runs through a whole swathe of modern and contemporary art. And Catalogue the exhibition is devoted to the exploration of this hypothesis, on the basis of works by artists including Marcel Duchamp, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Alain Bublex, Claude Closky, Arnaud Labelle-Rojoux, Dan Graham, Ed Rusha, Valérie Mréjen and Julien Prévieux.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 48-page booklet available free of charge.

Image: Dennis Oppenheim, "Theme for a Major Hit", 1974. Courtesy Dennis Oppenheim Studio, New York. © D. Oppenheim.

Press contact:
Alicia Treppoz-Vielle Tel. : 04 77916040 Email:

Opening: friday may 13 2011, h 6.30 p.m.

Musée D'art Moderne
Saint- Etienne Metropole La Terrasse, BP 80241 42006 Saint-Etienne Cedex 1
10am - 6pm, closed on tuesday
full: 5 euro, reduced: 4 euro.
Less than 12 years: free

Seven exhibitions
dal 21/6/2012 al 21/9/2012

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