MAC/VAL

MAC/VAL is opened every day of the week, except on mondays:
tuesday to friday, 10 h to 18 h
week-ends and holidays, 12 h to 19 h.

Closed on january 1st, may 1st and december 25th.

phone: 01 43 91 64 20
fax: 01 79 86 16 57

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Place de la Libération
94400 Vitry-sur-Seine

  005/023  

Cyprien Gaillard

Notice

Cyprien Gaillard, who graduated from the
ECAL1 in 2005, divides his time between
Paris and Berlin. Born in 1980, he is part
of a generation that arrived after the end
of the ‘grand narratives’ of emancipation
and the artistic avant-gardes. He seems to
regard the history of the landscape as a
whole. With wit, fascination and perhaps
nostalgia, he sets out in search of traces
of modernity. In Desniansky Raion (2007),
he proposes a three-part meditation on
modernist architecture. The video
successively shows: a brawl between two
gangs of hooligans in an apartment complex
in the East; the staging, using son-etlumière,
of the demolition of a block of
flats at Meaux; and, lastly, an aerial view
of the city of Kiev that brings out
an analogy with the standing stones
at Stonehenge. A radically new style,
developed by non-academic figures (Loos,
Gropius, Le Corbusier), becomes the sign
of a vanished or fallen world: the Soviet
Union, the Republic, communism.
The spectacle becomes funeral celebration
whereas ruins and archaeology surge up from
beneath the low-rise block.
Wit and irony are also components of his
work. Thus in La grande allée du Château
d’Oiron [The Great Walk at the Château
d’Oiron] (2008), he retrieves the rubble
from the demolition of a tower at Issy-les-
Moulineaux to cover the main walk at the
castle. The Land Art revolutions (in situ,
use of raw materials, earthworks as a
visual gesture) make it possible to
transmute the leftovers of an undesirable
building into heritage.

With Belief in the Age of Disbelief (2005),
the artist introduces contemporary
buildings into 17th-century Dutch prints.
The series casts doubt on our time-related
position. We see simultaneously an image
of the past and that of the future (modern
buildings turned into vestiges of a
vanished civilization). These landscapes,
which we may find ‘traditional’ today, are,
on the contrary, a pivotal moment:
Rembrandt and his peers took reality as
their motif. Choosing the landscape rather
than religious scenes is a way of saying
that a new, more egalitarian society,
looking to the Reformation and the
Enlightenment, needs new images of
the world.

Cyprien Gaillard invites us to see
modernism both as the remote heir of
the Reformation and as a variant of Roman
ruins, whose motif triumphed in European
painting precisely in the 17th and 18th
centuries.

Ar.B.

1. École cantonale d’art de Lausanne.