press release

High-tension. 8 Winners of the Marcel Duchamp Prize
June 6 – July 23, 2017

Participating Artists: Kader Attia, Latifa Echakhch, Cyprien Gaillard, Dominique Gonzalez-Foer-ster, Laurent Grasso, Mathieu Mercier, Julien Prévieux, Tatiana Trouvé

Curated by: Alfred Pacquement
Assisted by: Daphné Mallet

This exhibition brings together eight artists sharing an involvement in diverse ways with the art scene in France. All of them have also been winners of the Marcel Duchamp Prize, a well-re-nowned initiative which has proven its reputation on the international scene. The exhibition-charts the Prize’s track record since the year 2000. It aims to show the energy and vitality of art in France and each year distinguishes those artists who are part of that scene.

Each artist has their own universe of ideas and images, they work with various supports and have invented their own visual language. Today’s art has that quality of not conforming to pre-established styles. It displays remarkable freedom of composition and relies on multiple concepts drawn from art history, from individual or collective memory or even from past and present social trends. Perhaps this explains why nowadays there are no longer any well-identi-fied artistic movements and why globalization, exchanges and access to the same data from systems of information erase national characteristics which, in the past, were able to define schools with recognizable styles. There is no French art in the sense that the artists share proven characteristics. But there are artists in France or elsewhere, like China for instance, who immerse themselves in the concerns of the contemporary world and the history and culture that have forged them in the aim of developing their individual and autonomous projects. Diversity is therefore the keyword in such an exhibition. Diversity of expression, of form and of aesthetic challenge. However, this is not the only prerogative of art in France which reflects in this respect the characteristics shared by current artistic creation at a time of cultural global-ization.

This exhibition is also an invitation to visit contemporary time through the eyes of the artists. They challenge an art walled in by its own history. They observe the world and remap the contemporary landscape. Reacting to political and social evolutions, they act in response to current events and denounce their excesses.

High-tension, meaning the refusal of neutrality coming from artists in debate with contempo-rary society and its contradictions. Here, art is message, reflection and field of investigation. But also, High-tension meaning the transmission of energy. By manipulating images or constructing imaginary spaces, these artists show us a high voltage world, a world reinvented yet founded on reality and imbued with poetry.

*Exhibition organized in partnership with the ADIAF, Association for the International Diffusion of French Art

About the Curator

Alfred Pacquement is an art historian and museum curator. He has been the Director of the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Delegate to the Plastic Arts, Director of the Ecole nationale des Beaux-Arts de Paris and of the Musée national d’art modern, Centre Pompidou from 2000 to 2013. He is the curator of numerous exhibitions, some of the most recent being Richard Serra in Doha, Takis in the Palais de Tokyo, Invitation au Voyage in the Centrale, Brussels (with the ADIAF), Lee Ufan, Anish Kapoor and Olafur Eliasson at the Château de Versailles as well as Alexander Calder, Joan Miro and Giuseppe Penone in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. The author of many catalogue introductions and monographies, he is Honorary Director of the Musée national d’art modern.