Carré d'art-Musée d'art contemporain de Nîmes is holding a major monographic exhibition by the
artist Valérie Favre, with over 70 works on show.
Swiss-born painter Valérie Favre first became known in France as an actress, until 1991 when she returned to her first love, painting. She has often talked about this watershed in her career as being an opportunity to swap the role of interpreter for that of author. Valérie Favre works in intersecting series.
Since the 1990s, she has been building up a taxonomy of the pictorial from everyday items: bath mats, the pillow, the handkerchief or elements borrowed from the pictorial tradition (ruffs, the red dress, the portrait). One room in the exhibition will evoke this laboratory of the artwork through a selection of drawings, notebooks, collages, a depiction of dreams and of the presence of La Poulinière: a machine-object designed by the artist in 1989 to lend a framework in time and space to the representation that she was to tackle. The show will include several sets of works from 2002 and later, focusing on her favourite characters: the “bunny women”, the fallen eagle, the centaurs, the majorettes. The entire Autos dans la Nuit and Suicides series will be on display. Midway between stories and references to the cinema, Valérie Favre's painting does not just illustrate a personal pantheon. It engages in thinking on the script-writing of contemporary society.
Along with the Lapines Univers series, the building's atrium and first room opening onto the staircase will be housing a podium taken from the Columbia Pictures logo and a set of tarpaulins designed by the artist based on the famous pram scene in Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin. This arrangement is aimed at propelling the visitor, before he has even got into the museum galleries, and including him as a participant in the allegorical, dreamlike process that forms the basis of Valérie Favre's recent works.
In stark contrast with the other rooms, centring on the figurative series, the largest room will be devoted to a presentation of 7 large abstract paintings (300 x 195 cm), Balls and Tunnels. Since 1995, Valérie Favre has been taking on informal painting once a year. But unlike the expressive vocabularies brought into play by the great painters of the second half of the 20th century, particularly the Americans, the Balls and Tunnels are a game of chance. The canvas is tinted with inks in a bath, then receives accents done in acrylics. The series defuses any existential lyricism but in the derision of its sexually connoted title asserts the existence of a form of painting that is not exclusively a male prerogative.
The exhibition will be accompanied by the publication of a trilingual catalogue (French, German, English) including four essays by Jacqueline Lichtenstein, professor at the Sorbonne, Claire Brunet, psychoanalyst, Beatrice von Bismarck, teacher of the history of art and visual theory at the HGB, Leipzig, Jurgen Harten, honorary director of the Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf.
Delphine Verrières - Carré d'Art
Tel : +33 (0)4 66763577 - Fax : +33 (0)4 66763585 E-mail : email@example.com
Nîmes Museum of Contemporary Art
Place de la Maison Carrée Nîmes 30000 cedex 1 France
Open daily except Mondays from 10 am to 6 pm.
Admission: Euro 5; reduced rate: Euro 3.70