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Foundation Cartier: A 30-Year Anniversary

Mémoires Vives, French for “Vivid Memories” is an exhibition organized by the Paris-based Cartier Foundation in light of its thirtieth anniversary. Usually, we get retrospectives of one artist, or a group show containing works by different artists that have existed over a certain period of time. Temporary exhibits usually run for a couple months, four if the gallery is successful, two if it was just an experiment. At Cartier, the idea is a bit different than usual. This exhibition takes place over the course of an entire year (May 2014-Mach 2015).

To celebrate these three generations of artistic effervescence and collaboration, the Foundation has put together a “moving exhibition” containing work that it has collected since 1984. What I mean by moving is that each month, the space will change. Works will be redistributed and replaced. All this to show the dynamism with which the Foundation has been spearheading all its initiatives. And this creates a space for the viewer to engage in quite a compelling dialogue with the work.

The viewer will drift from one floor to the next experiencing whatever is there at the moment. He’ll come back a month later only to experience a whole different story. So you’ll see Marc Newson, Nan Goldin, Agnes Varda, Cai Guo-Qiang, Chéri Samba, David Lynch and many many more artists contributing in this dialogue.

What is a space’s past? Does it come to life through what it has contained? Or through its restaging, all at once?

Jean Nouvel designed the building as an ode for lost time, as a space where metamorphosis could take place. With its glass structure, one can see the greenery of the garden burst into the main exhibition spaces, allowing for the museum to blend in with nature and the passage of time. In a way, the fact that time is so explicitly portrayed both in the neighborhood in which the building was constructed and its structure makes this celebration anchored in a sort of suspended temporality. There is no more time. There are just facts or testaments of time passed. And the works in the show corroborate that idea perfectly. Cai Guo-Qiang’s explosion pieces show materials being slowly dispersed from one edge to another, giving the canvas temporality and length. Bodys Isek Kingelez’s futuristic cityscape allows us to project ourselves even further out of time, out of an imagined time. Those are just two examples.

So if you happen to find yourself drifting in Paris, let yourself move towards the Cartier Foundation and experience suspended time for yourself.

text by: Michael Valinsky

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