Based on the observation that there is a renewed interest in figurative and expressive practices, Zeitgeist outlines a genealogy of these practices through forty European and American artists who have been active between the 1960s and today.
If the title of the exhibition (the spirit of the time) intends on qualifying a current atmosphere, it also refers to an eponymous exhibition, which was held at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin, in 1982. Very much discussed at the time, this exhibition was a testimony to the surge of figurative and expressionist works appearing from both sides of the Atlantic, with the American neo-expressionism, the Italian Transavanguardia, and the German Neue Wilden. A manifest of this period, the Berlin exhibition left its mark in the recent history of art as the high point in the debates between modern and postmodern, often argued in terms of life and death of the painting.
Curated by Paul Bernard, Lionel Bovier, and Fabrice Stroun, this exhibition at MAMCO leads the visitor through several stages of this divergent narrative in the context of a transatlantic geography. The contributions of younger artists remind us that in our digital era–marked by a saturation of images–contemporary practices are perhaps more figural than figurative, and that expressiveness is to be though as a critical tool rather than the testimony of an ever uncertain subjectivity.
22 February – 7 May 2017
10, rue des Vieux-Grenadiers
Image: Tala Madani, Spiral Suicide (throw back), 2014. Oil on canvas, 203 x 305 cm