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Francisco de Goya, Nature morte à la tête de mouton, 1808-1812 copie.jpg



at the Louvre Paris


Although Christo is missing, "Les Choses" presented at the Louvre this winter, is an exciting exhibition!

by Philippe Renaud*

Things, "which say a lot when they say something else (Michaux)" hold their revenge  until January 23, 2023 in a basement crowded with visitors delighted to discover nature in its simplicity these everyday or transformed and industrial objects that encourage meditation   and, more or less loaded with symbolism over time  esoteric, moral or Freudian  to express wealth, power, restrained and outrageous consumption   the overflow of garbage cans when it is not the slow disaster of decay  and the destruction of things.  The vanity of beings before the fascinating mystery of eternity which is present as the favorite cousin of the theme of inner lives.

Anne Vallayer-Coster Panaches de mer, 1769.jpg

With brilliance and culture, this exhibition recounts the passing of time on things, nature and men and asks with a somewhat fabricated modernity the question of the poet of yesteryear: Do inanimate things have a soul? …..  

The theme of these still lifes, silent lives, "Natures Mortes" has been so fruitful in the history of art that it is easy to get lost in the opulence of the subject, and the forest of symbols that are hidden there and in the charms that these things offer to our personal memories.

The art of the curators was to play on the echoes between the periods  which inspired these works  of which they are notorious scholars, to stuff their words with provocations found in the all-round inspiration (cinema, video, installation, etc.) of 20th century artists through the movements that shaped art at that time. We remain unsatisfied (during my visit, the heap of sweets in Gonzales Torres' installation had melted like greedy snow in the sun...) because the uncurious choices concerning art in the making are almost an admission of incomprehension by the continuity of the theme.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo Automne.png

Zabriskie Point d'Antonioni's quote  ends  besides by serving stupidly, like a , lively and hectic wallpaper mural in the overly large Salle des Pas Perdus at the end of the hanging when it should have asserted itself as a strong questioning “because things and being have a great dialogue (Victor Hugo)” which is still alive.

Rembrandt, _Le Bœuf écorché_, 1655, Paris, musée du Louvre, département des Peintures © RM

Small nuance, The Louvre in Paris remains The Louvre even when it pretends to be in on it. The prestige of the place has certainly facilitated the quality of the loans of the works presented, we are pleased about this, but we regret that an even more informed and disturbing breath on the contemporary part did not come to disturb this  brilliant pileup…. 

* Philippe Renaud is director-artist, scenographer, author. He created the Galerie Travers with William Wheeler and   "Lieux" furniture publishing house in the 90s with Patrice Gruffaz. 

Barthélémy Toguo Le ilier des migrants disparus, 2022 .jpg
Exhibition “Things. A history of still life” – Louvre Museum 

PHOTO CREDITS ©estheteplace

1- Att to  Hieronymus Francken II The riches of the Miser and his death, circa 1600

2- View of the exhibition 

3- Édouard Manet, asparagus

4- Anne Vallayer-Coster Sea plumes, 1769

5- Frans Snyders, Still Life with Vegetables, circa 1610

6- Louise Moillon Cup of cherries, plums, melon, circa 1933

7- Daniel SPOERRI, the Hungarian meal, trap painting, 1963

8- Adriaen Coorte, six shells on a stone table, 1696

9- François Desportes, Still life of game ready to put on a spit, 1716

10- Erró, food landscape, 1964

11- Christian Boltanski The clothes of François C, 1971-1972

12- François Desportes, Still life of game ready to be put on a spit, 1716

13 - Jake and Dinos Chapman Bronze Skull (yellow and worm-eaten), 2004

14 - Sébastien Bonnecroy Vanity, around 1650

15- Gerhard Richter, Skull, 1983

16-Marcel Duchamp

17- Jean Simeon Chardin

18- Pompeii, mosaic

19- Andres Serrano

20- Francisco de Goya, Still Life with Sheep's Head, 1808-1812

21- The Monogrammist JVR, around 1630

22- Joel Peter Witkin, Harvest 1983

23- “Autumn” (1573) by Giuseppe Arcimboldo 

24 - Att to Juan de Arellano Garland of flowers, birds and butterfly, circa 1650-1670

25- Andrei Tartkovshi Stalker, 1979

26- “Study of Severed Arms and Legs” (1818-1819) by Théodore Géricault

27- Rembrandt, "The Skinned Ox", 1655, Paris, Louvre Museum, Department of Paintings © RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre Museum) / Tony Querrec

28- Ron Mueck, Still Life, 2009

29- Barthélémy Toguo The ilier of missing migrants, 2022 

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