Les Champs Libres, Musée des beaux-arts, Frac Bretagne, Rennes
A project supported by the City of Rennes and Rennes Métropole
La fête dans tous ses états
The exhibition Pas sommeil proposes to envision the summer of 2022 as the twilight of this pandemic that will have forbidden us to indulge in the forms of nightly wandering that we are so fond of and that have always been deeply rooted in Rennes’ DNA. The summer of 2022 will be the night during which transgressions will once again be possible, bringing back about collective experience and encounters that create meaning and form.
The exhibition wants to be open, festive, poetic, generous but also contemplative, surly and militant. It intends to evoke the party in its broadest sense – from the impromptu popular gathering to the dance floor, from the village party to the rock concert, from the techno rave to the queer culture… – by bringing together artistic practices from all horizons. The party will be the place of rejoicing as much as of resistance, the place of social, identity and cultural claims as well as of expiation, the place of the spectacular as well as of the intimate…
Marina Abramović, Boris Achour, Diane Arbus, Davide Balula, Marc-Camille Chaimowicz, Clément Cogitore, Zuzanna Czebatul, Edith Dekyndt, Rineke Dijkstra, Sylvie Fleury, Ceal Floyer, John Giorno, Nan Goldin, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Andreas Gursky, Keith Haring, Julie Hascoët, William Kentridge, Yarema Malashchuk & Roman Khimei, Bernhard Martin, Jean-François Monier, Tania Mouraud, Mark Neville, Vincent Olinet, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Cécile Paris, Tony Regazzoni, Delphine Reist, Georgina Starr, Agnès Varda, Piotr Uklański, Bárbara Wargner & Benjamin de Burca, Gillian Wearing.
In the streets of Saint-Briac this summer, the Frac Bretagne and the municipality are offering a new open-air artistic experience. In an ever-renewed dynamic of immersion, the paving of flags is accompanied by new wall display surfaces and plunges the public space under a coloured wave: the streets and alleys of the village welcome the work of Elsa Tomkowiak. With rhythm, strength and voluptuousness, the artist takes hold of the brightest colours, plays with their vibrations and offers visitors a new sensory experience.
Internationally renowned for his illustrations produced for prestigious clients such as The New York Times, the Centre Pompidou, Les Inrocks, The Guardian, RCA Records, National Geographic and the Grand Palais, the Breton artist Jean Jullien has been developing a graphic commentary on the contemporary world that is as amusing as it is acerbic.
Populated by what he calls his Paper People, Jullien’s universe draws as much from the popular culture of this child of the 1980s as from the history of poster art – from Ungerer to Savignac. More recently, he returned to the South Finistere coast of his childhood to devote himself to painting. From Lesconil to La Torche, he observes dunes, boats and surfers, with all the genius of the line that we know, giving the feeling of wanting to escape from the schizophrenia of press commentary to put the long time on canvas.
For his solo exhibition Les Pas in Clohars-Carnoët, Jean Jullien invested this small village in Finistere where some of the heroes of the Pont-Aven School settled at the end of the 19th century.
One of his Paper People leaves the paper sheet to go on a journey in the steps of his illustrious predecessors, in volume and on a human scale. We discover him sitting in the tavern-inn where the painters stayed, run at the time by Marie Henry (today reconstituted identically at the Maison Musée du Pouldu), lying on the beach of Le Pouldu whose landscapes and famous light inspired them so much, or working, brush in hand, in the Chapelle Saint-Jacques, transformed into an artist’s studio.
This artistic fiction through the village continues at La Longère with an exhibition retracing the history of Paper People in Jean Jullien’s practice.
Deposit of the Centre national des arts plastiques
Born in 1960, Berlin-based Austrian artist Peter Friedl is a major presence on the international art scene. He started out as a theatre critic in the early 1980s, before devoting himself to the visual arts, and he retains a strong connection to the theatre. This is reflected in his exhibitions, which are made like actual sets, with and without set changes, according to the complexity of the project.
In a quest for new narrative forms, his projects explore, in specifically organized contexts, the construction of history and concepts, always informed by revisiting major themes, including childhood, history, sociology and the animal world. With wit and irony, the artist points out the dead ends of modernity, between the utopias of yesterday and today’s compromises.
The many references in his works, and the various methods he uses to express them (drawing, video, photography, installation, etc.) constitute a dense corpus, blending the suggestion of personal history with that of the collective. Friedl’s work is difficult to grasp in an instant; rather, it demands to be considered dynamically. The artist explains that he is looking for ambiguity and confusion, never the precision of an immediate reading. In 1998 he claimed “that misunderstanding is part of understanding”.
Untitled (Corrupting the Absolute) is composed of handwritten letters in red neon.
It transcribes a reference, jotted down in one of the many notebooks that the artist – an attentive observer – carries with him during the course of his daily life, borrowed from the American essayist and rock critic Greil Marcus*.
An underground cult figure, Marcus likes to underscore the oppositions and contrary forces that construct an artist’s genius, just as Peter Friedl emphasizes the analogies as much as the ruptures and gaps that provoke vertigo.
“Corrupting the Absolute” asserts itself as an abstract injunction to remind us that art, if it exists, does not deliver answers, that it first and foremost pushes us to question ourselves. Installed in the lobby, this piece can be seen as an introduction to the philosophy of the Frac Bretagne.
*Corrupting the Absolute is the title of a chapter of the untranslated book: In the Fascist Bathroom: Punk in Pop Music, 1977-1992, published by Greil Marcus in 1993.
Yes ! There are backstage at the Frac. The display is full of surprises, don’t you think? These heights, the visual echoes between paintings and photographs are indeed astonishing. Maybe you already know it : this collection is yours. It is a common good that a team of professionals is taking care of so that in decades, we can still understand and appreciate it.
The Frac Bretagne collection brings together works of artists from different generations and art scenes whether local, regional and international. Abstraction is one of the historical bases of the collection which also unfolds around thematic axes: works in relation to nature, that question the status of the contemporary image, the artist as a witness to his/her time, as well as as large monographic bodies.
The works go in and out from this storage for exhibitions and participatory projects. The FRACs are indeed the most widely distributed public collections in France. This principle of mobility defines these institutions as essential players in regional policies aiming to reduce geographical and social disparities in access to culture. Thus, FRACs are facilitating the discovery of contemporary art by the most diverse types of publics.
For you, the Frac has recorded voices to listen to. You’ll her an improbable flight attendant, fine connoisseur of conservation issues, witnesses recounting their memories of the works that you can see, technicians who know the collection better than anyone, works that speak to each other… and also the public with whom the Frac sets up numerous projects throughout the region and who has bring art pieces into their venues.
The history of the Frac Bretagne is closely linked to that of the sculpture park of the Domaine de Kerguéhennec in Morbihan, which in the 1980s was a magnificent playground for artists as prestigious as Richard Long, Giuseppe Penone and Jean Pierre Raynaud.
Their experiments in this Morbihan park helped build the identity of the Frac and its collection, which is particularly oriented towards landscape issues.
In 1991, Robert Milin was invited to participate in Escales, an event curated by Jérôme Sans, which proposed to invest various places in the Côtes-d’Armor in a close relationship with the landscape. The artist then became interested in a small rural commune, Saint-Carré, and its inhabitants, with whom he made friends. Sharing with them the local life, at the crossroads of ancestral activities – work of the fields and care of the animals – and of the modern life, he has soon access to the personal photographs of several families.
In these boxes lie as many silent witnesses of the collective religious or secular events that have marked the village, as intimate moments that take on importance only in the history of each. He chose to bring 13 of these photos to light by enlarging them, transferring them either to enamel plates or to porcelain, and placing them, with the active complicity of the inhabitants, in different parts of Saint-Carré: the playground, the gable of a barn, the henhouse, etc. In doing so, he created a work of public art that overturned the usual canons, notably in the relationship between the private and the public: the private became public and the entire village an open-air exhibition space.
In 1994, the Frac Bretagne acquired Saint-Carré, a work that particularly resonates with one of its essential missions, to bring the citizen closer to the challenges of today’s art. Like any work in the public space, Saint-Carré has suffered the assaults of time and the vagaries of weather. Carried by the common will of the inhabitants, the Frac Bretagne and the artist, a restoration was undertaken at the good care of the latter in 2018. In addition to the renovation of certain pieces, this process led to the reorganization of the hanging, to take into account the changes in ownership, the evolution of the building and the roadway.
One of the most original and recognised voices in contemporary painting, Norwegian artist.
Fredrik Værslev navigates between different pictorial traditions. In his practice, he focuses on the process of painting, demonstrating the possibilities and relevance of the medium today.
His works are born out of the encounter between architecture and painting and take the form of painted renderings of motifs from the artist’s daily life.
He treats his paintings as objects, often created by more or less laborious, serial or deterministic processes, in which time itself, as well as various external factors, become active co-creators of the work.
In several series, he has left his paintings outside for long periods, allowing time and external wear and tear to complete them. Other works use seemingly clichéd techniques, motifs or quotations from art history (for example, dripping and splashing). Fredrik Værslev also challenges the painting process by freely collaborating with other artists or by using non-traditional painting tools, such as spray cans or equipment used to paint roads and stadiums. His paintings often oscillate between abstraction and representation, as evidenced by his groundbreaking Terrazzo series, which mimics the materiality of Italian stone floors while appealing to the expressiveness and spontaneity of abstract expressionism. The Canopy series is reminiscent of modernism and its striped paintings, but has its origins in the awnings of the artist’s childhood home.
His forthcoming exhibition in October 2022 in Rennes, the fruit of a discussion begun in 2015 with Etienne Bernard, director of the Frac Bretagne and curator of the exhibition, is intended to be an important step in his career.
It will constitute a form of retrospective of his entire production over the past 15 years.
The artist will present a new series of 40 paintings that will serve as a “re-reading rail” for his older series. Thus, the exhibition presented on more than 500 square meters of the Grande Galerie Sud of the Frac Bretagne will bring together more than 60 masterpieces.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue published in French and English by Dilecta, Paris.
Fredrik Værslev was born in Moss, Norway in 1979 and lives and works mainly in Oslo.
He started his career as an artist by making graffiti for 10 years, and it was only afterwards that he received an education in contemporary art. Following his studies at the Malmö Art Academy and the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Frankfurt, he began a series of paintings entitled Terrazzo paintings.
For some, Fredrik Værslev’s work is placed in an undefined space and he himself speaks of “appositions of signs of the world”. He is considered one of the most original artists in contemporary art.