Monday, 10 November 2014

Villa Arson Degree Show in Nice Sept 2014

Art from the Arson Villa student show at the Marine Gallery, Promenade des Etats Unis, Nice, 2014

My first impression is how similar this is to say Falmouth BA show, how international is the current contemporary art. There is  video, some so dull you could scream, references to Catalan, Ukeles, odd things on poles, totems, a thing that looks very delicate and works electrically that moves that has broken, a motorbike burnt and lit by a sodium light, the work of Quentin Everte.

The surface of a tyre is being scanned and projected.At first I took it to be a video of the inside of a van with just a crack of light, maybe about immigrants being illegally smuggled in, but it's not, that's my idea for a work.
I apologize for not having the name of the artist.

The first prize the curator tells me has gone to the sound installation, so subtle that I had not noticed it, beautifully installed with pastel lit small speakers above our heads, and now I hear some bells coming from it. Simon Nicolas made it.

There's video of cleaning up after fireworks like we saw at the port a few days before but with it jerky hand held shots of children on a beach, I thought maybe also clearing, but they aren't, and five minutes to watch time code projected, which seems interminable sitting in the dark. Its by Celine Fantino.

The video of a woman  cleaning a floor and then brushing her hair with the dirty brush I am informed is a reference to a famous picture by Caillebotte of workers cleaning a parquet floor.
There is also video of a desert and a pool table with messily painted areas and paint on the balls.
There are pieces of shaped stone in an old display cabinet.
There are rather beautiful photograms of snail trails on black by Sergio Valenzuela Escobedo.

The main difference from the Falmouth show is that this one, in two venues, the larger of which I did not get to, is open for several months so it gets a reasonable audience. Falmouth is only open a week, similarly the MA show, when it's highly likely there will be no refreshments and very little publicity for the artists who have worked very hard in most cases and yet it isn't even shown so that the new students could see it, let alone showcased to any art dealers who might provide future opportunities. Is this because the new cohort will be much the same, no point in letting them see the last lot? There is also a free informative illustrated leaflet  whereas at Falmouth you have to buy a catalogue. Also there is a curator present who is happy to speak to me.

Earlier in the week we had been to the gallery in Nice which shows nineteenth century works. This again was a Europe wide style, of heavy dark interiors, narratives of slave girls and gods, history paintings, admirable in their care and observation, skill and industry, and how different from our age of peculiarly odd stuff. 

What does it mean that the lightness and love of life of the impressionists is lost to us, and what will be next? 

Was there ever thus a mass of similar art and a few things get through, through to be kept and valued, known in the canon, and from even earlier just a few things remain, not valued as masterpieces but merely for their survival, any prehistoric image is remarkable, we don't say one is good or bad.

The contemporary scene is hard work, varied, scrappy, the art seems thrown together in an afternoon, without skill, without coherence, we feel tired, unwilling to read pretentious blurb, ready for lunch.

I find I want some joie de vivre, I've just returned from the intoxications  of Matisse , Bonnard and Picasso, let's find some joy in living now despite the horrors!
It's this that I always find in dance, in jazz, in holidays in hot countries, in flaneuring,  and it insists on getting into my art alongside the douleurs.
I buy one of Sheila Stayne's sculptures, back home  in St.Ives, its to be worn round my neck, made in felt, it's deep blue with orange and pink, a 3D Trevor Bell inspired creation.

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