Monday 4 March 2013

Paris Exhibitions: Two New Exciting Shows of Modern and Pop Art

A portrait by iconic French artist C215, the moniker of Christian Guémy, at the Beyond Street Art exhibition in Paris
Photographer Andreas Romagnoli travelled to Paris to capture the contemporary art exhibited at two major new gallery shows. Artists from all over the world are represented including emerging talent and France's iconic C215 and England's Banksy, reports Jeanne-Marie Cilento.

STREET Art, also called 'outsider' art was born in London. In France it was labelled art brut by French artist Jean Dubuffet. It is an art created 'outside' traditional galleries, often by self-taught artists and sculptors. But it's hard to stay an outsider once you've been discovered by the art market. One of the Paris exhibitions is called Beyond Street Art at the Musée de la Poste. It shows seventy works from eleven different international artists including the French Space Invaders, L’Atlas, Miss.Tic and Ludo and Shepard Fairey and Swoon from the USA.

The artists use a variety of media and techniques and the exhibition includes films illustrating their way of working. The show's exhibits offer an overview of the diversity of methods from stencils, spray paint, mosaic and charcoal to paper cut-outs, resin, engraving, acrylic paint, watercolour and gouache. The art works are also created on an eclectic range of objects and materials including canvas, metal and linoleum and mailboxes, signs and posters.

The evolution of the French street art movement is illustrated at the start of the show, including pictures of work by pioneers such as Ernest Pignon-Ernest and Gerard Zlotykamien from the 1960s. This is followed by the 1980s generation of artists, including Blek Le Rat, Jef Aerosol and Jérôme Mesnager.

Beyond Street Art has a definite focus and shows the different themes and worlds explored by each artist.  Organised by the Musée de la Poste, this exhibition invites visitors to return to the starting point of urban art in France and the United States through the shows extensive photographs and video clips.

New artists and contemporary pop art greats are on display at the Hey! Modern Art & Pop Culture Part II exhibition at the Halle St. Pierre, a former market near MontmartreIn 2011, the founders of the alternative modern art and pop culture magazine HEY! opened their first show dedicated to outsider artists.

This second exhibition showcases sixty artists work that explore the boundaries of modern art and pop-surrealism, often showing a macabre side to contemporary creativity. Works include the Alien sculptures of HR Giger, the finely-woven macrame heads by Jim Skull and Kate Clark's animal-humans (see photographs below). One of twenty five American artists, Brooklyn sculptor Kate Clark exhibits her busts of creatures that appear to be young bucks with human eyes. She is interested in showing the different 'animalities' within us. However, Clark is not 'outside' the art establishment but was trained at Cornell and the Cranbrook Academy. 

The Beyond Street Art and Hey! exhibitions demonstrate an anarchic side to the French capital's art world. A new cultural zeitgeist willing to show different forms of artistic expression that often run counter to the contemporary art market.

Beyond Street Art: Musée de La Poste, 34 Boulevard de Vaugirard, 75015 Paris. Open from 10am-6pm, closed Sundays. It runs until March 30th 2013. Hey! Modern Art & Pop Culture Part II:  Halle Saint-Pierre, 2 Rue Ronsard 75018 Paris. Open from 10am-6pm until August 23rd 2013.

Click on photographs for full-screen slide-show
 Stencil on steel by Miss Tic.

Model Kate Moss represented as an Andy Warhol print of Marilyn Monroe

Mosaic tile head by Space Invaders
The French Miss. Tic's work has captured the attention of top fashion designers
The mystical abstract work of French artist L'Atlas
C215's large portraits exhibited at Beyond Street Art.

Entrance into the darkened first level of the surreal Hey! Pop Art Exhibition

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