The new presentation of the contemporary collections of the Centre Pompidou, provides an overview of contemporary art since the Eighties through a circuit of almost 400 works and objects by nearly 200 artists, architects and designers. With paintings, sculptures, installations, videos, films, drawings, photographs, architecture and design, this new presentation offers a new approach to the art of the last thirty years.
1989 marked a break with the past and the start of a new era. The fall of the Berlin Wall toppled divisions in the world of European art, while the events of Tiananmen Square focused attention on a new China. In the eyes of West, new artistic territories emerged, while artists burst upon the international scene and contemporary art biennials sprang up all over the world. The new presentation of the Centre Pompidou contemporary collections focuses particularly on this altered geography, notably the former Eastern Europe, China, Lebanon and various Middle Eastern countries, India, Africa and Latin America.
At the same time the number of artists, galleries and exhibition curators rose considerably, while art became the focus of a new cultural «consumerism». The curator replaced the art critic. The contemporary art market rocketed, and media coverage furthered the democratisation of contemporary art. From an artistic point of view, the arrival of virtual realities, the Internet and the digital represents another turning point, making the definition of a «light-revealed» photograph or the autonomy of certain media like film or video almost obsolete. Sound has become an intergrate part of installations. The practice of performance is attracting fresh interest, with a movement towards dance, theatre and the spoken text. Meanwhile, history of art is also the subject of numerous interpretations, some foretelling the end of history or the move into a post-historic era. New approaches propose a non-linear history, horizontal rather than vertical, which embrace local micro-histories and open up a considerable field for research while questions of identity also provide key material for debate.
In this worldwide environment of seething excitement, artists react to the phenomenon of globalisation and these new realities with an often critical eye, reinventing their practices in line with the upheavals of a constantly changing world where numerous political and social questions have emerged. Many of them have also reinvented their practices with a new approach to their very «forms of life» and their position as artists, exploring human and natural sciences as well as literature.
The Nineties also saw the emergence of the artist as producer, historian, archivist or documentarist, in a reaction to contemporary socio-political upheavals. The relationship with the body has also led to numerous visual inventions, while many artists see themselves as narrators or autobiographers, creating fictions based on their private lives. Reality itself and everyday objects inspire numerous sculptures and installations, instilling a new poetry into the ordinary, and creating new links between the public and private spheres, themselves subjected to profound sociological upheavals.
A History, a new presentation of the Centre Pompidou contemporary collections, proposes an interpretation of art inspired by the very way in which artists have positioned themselves in relation to these profound
“A History. Art, Architecture, Design from the 1980s until today”
February 7, 2014 – July 3, 2016
Centre Georges Pompidou — Musée National d’Art Moderne
Curator : Mnam/Cci, Christine Macel
Text adapted from exhibition brief.
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Images from the Press Release of the exhibition.