press release

In order to envisage the possibility of the end of the world, Mircea Cantor has named his exhibition at the Frac Champagne-Ardenne Ciel variable (Changing Skies). The future’s unpredictability suggests at once the Apocalypse and potential renewal. This is reflected in his sculpture/scale model, Monument for the End of the World, in which the wind chimes overhanging the model of a big city can be set off by a possible disaster.

From video and photography to prints and installations, Mircea Cantor’s work unfolds in a diversity of media without repeating itself. Each artwork assumes the aspect of a manifesto; each picture is justified. By proposing a personal response to a reality saturated with sometimes oppressive signs, Mircea Cantor upsets and reverses conventions, like his painted canvas of a nest made of apparently dead twigs, which bud once again. This cycle of disappearance and renewal is constantly brought into play in Cantor’s work, reminding us of our frantic racing against time in contemporary society.

Neither a traditional retrospective, nor a show of only new artworks, this exhibition is a way for the artist to offer a new reading of his art. The works occupy all of the Frac’s galleries, revealing the materialization of Mircea Cantor’s non-linear conception of cosmogony; a universe encompassing all futures, all pasts, all potentialities. Untitled, 2006, for example, shows part of a torn headline of Le Monde, to which the artist added two ‘s’ in red marker. It is a sensitive allegory of the fragility of our convictions when confronted with the infinite plurality of worlds, deepening in turn our uncertainty and anxiety. Very often, as an attentive observer of society and cultures, Mircea Cantor places himself at the crossroads between worlds, allowing for the coming together of differing mentalities. He is preoccupied with the alchemy of ideologies in the infinite movement of thought. For instance, he has filmed in 16mm the incandescence, then dissolution, of the shadow of a formless flag of indeterminate origin. The very fact of its being unidentifiable renders it emblematic, on a universal scale, of the end of a regime and the renewal of society.

Mircea Cantor gained international attention at the 2003 Venice Biennale, at the 2006 Berlin Biennale, the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2006, and at the Yvon Lambert Gallery (Paris and New York). Winner of the 2004 Ricard Prize, he is an outstanding figure among Eastern Europe’s emerging artists. Cantor grew up in Romania during the Communist era, and views the current governments, as well as illusions of Western neo-conservatism, with lucidity and distance. Cantor is also heavily involved in the Romanian artistic scene, and is a co-editor of Version magazine.

In conjunction with this exhibition, the first monograph of Mircea Cantor will be published by Le Collège / Frac Champagne-Ardenne, in partnership with the Yvon Lambert Gallery, Paris / New York. Due out in the Fall.

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Mircea Cantor
Ciel variable