LES CHOSES. La nature morte de la Préhistoire à nos jours (Things. The still-life from prehistory to the present day): Louvre Museum, Paris
Current and Forthcoming exhibitionGroup Exhibitions
The last major event on Still Life, from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century was staged by Charles Sterling, curator at the Louvre, in Paris in 1952. Our spring 2022 exhibition pays tribute to this leading art historian but with today's mindset.
It is enhanced by all the discoveries made by ancient and contemporary art history, as well as literature, poetry, philosophy, archaeology, botany, ecology and everything that has broadened our perspectives.
We will look beyond chronological and geographical borders, opening windows onto other cultures that have majestically depicted things. We will establish dialogue between masterpieces from varied eras and mediums by inviting the contemporary artists who are
inspired by their predecessors but change our view of the past.
The long-maligned still life genre, associated with the triviality of daily life or even miscreance, should be reconsidered in light of our growing attachment to things and the new relationships forming between the living and non-living.
Although, since the second half of the twentieth century, things have often been seen as the servants of vulgar and dehumanizing consumerism, over the long term, artists have elevated them into influential friends, giving them a prominent position in the name of epicurean, religious, moral, poetic or political reciprocity.
Their depictions are shaped by a huge variety of practices, ideas, beliefs and emotions that inspire societal changes as much as they reflect them. Within well-known, even hackneyed conventions (still life), the simplicity of things leads artists towards
unprecedented formal freedoms.
The diachronic structure chosen for our exhibition has the advantage of highlighting turning points in the history of depictions. It also makes the essential connections between artworks from different eras. Three periods are particularly appropriate for the abundance of things depicted: Antiquity, the 16th-17th centuries and the 20th-21st centuries. Our structure will show it in seventeen sequences without overlooking other times when works, even isolated, contribute remarkably to enriching the genre.
An original illustrated 600-page catalogue will accompany this international exhibition.
Many of the masterpieces presented will come from the Louvre Museum. An extract of Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point (1970) (2m20) will close the exhibition, along with a work on Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Such a powerful image of a world in pieces would make a powerful statement about our relation to the "things" and to their loss, on Pink Floyd's music.