Michel Majerus

Michel Majerus

CAPC Contemporary Art Museum Bordeaux

Michel Majerus, Pathfinder, 2002.
Digital print on vinyl, 380 x 290 x 3.5 cm.*

May 26, 2012

Michel Majerus
31 May–23 September 2012

CAPC musée d’art
contemporain de Bordeaux
7 rue Ferrère
F-33000 Bordeaux


I’m fascinated by the idea of doing something without being sure of what it will become, and without anyone else being sure what it will become. I will never know, and no one else will know: that is how I think of art.
–Michel Majerus

The brief span of Michel Majerus’s career coincides with two major revolutions: one technological, the other political. The artist’s work reached its creative peak and made its mark on the international art scene in 1996, when the Internet was emerging as a new phenomenon. His death in a tragic plane crash occurred one year after the political turmoil caused by the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

In the space of six years, these two revolutions profoundly transformed the socio-cultural and economic parameters of our civilization, giving birth to a new era we commonly refer to as ‘globalization.’ It brought with it mobility, polycentrism, information streams, new networks, social diversity, and hybridization. Nothing is ‘remote’ or ‘peripheral’ any more, power hubs no longer have physical locations, and social time patterns have been desynchronized. In the space of a few years, Michel Majerus sensed and embraced these new parameters and used them to develop new aesthetic paradigms: painting as a space for navigation and circulation, the canvas’s surface used like a screen, the boundless availability of images, the simultaneity and heterogeneity of signs and forms, the importance of communication technology in human interaction, and so on.

The openness and permeability of Majerus’s work reflects its genuine kinship with Pop Art. Its contemporary thrust owes much to the artist’s relentless concern with the question of style, rooted in his awareness of living in an entirely ‘designed’ world in which all entities, ideas, and physical manifestations are produced via standardized communication tools whose visual identity is tightly controlled. Majerus decided to refrain from making choices (of style), remaining faithful to this fundamental, difficult, and often misunderstood relativism until the end, as shown in the darker, more anxious paintings he made in 2002, shortly before his death.

This is the first solo exhibition of Michel Majerus’s work in France. Produced in collaboration with the Kunstmuseum in Stuttgart, this retrospective will gather 35 works produced by the artist between 1996 and 2002, as well as two major installations:

The monumental work Reminder (1998), which was added to our collection in 2007 (on deposit from the Centre national des arts plastiques). It is the first time since its creation in 1998 for Manifesta in Luxemburg that this amazing work can be shown again, thanks to the huge size of the main hall of the CAPC.

With If you are dead, so it is (2000) Majerus has covered the interior surface of a skateboarder’s half-pipe. It will be reconstructed running the length of the 164-foot nave of the CAPC. Visitors will be able to glide through on foot or on roller blades…

This show reflects the museum’s determination to present the work of a generation of artists, curators, and critics who have developed new idioms and display methods that echo the changing cultural, social, and economic context of art.

During the summer season, the CAPC will allow sport, cultural, or social organisations to have an access to the show and to experience the artwork If you are so it is. The museum thus becomes a space of encounter between Michel Majerus’s work and living urban cultures: a space/time of transmission, workshops, meetings, demonstrations, and social link…

Curated by Charlotte Laubard.

Société Générale is the main partner of Michel Majerus exhibition.
Michel Majerus is labelled Exhibition of national interest by the Ministry of Culture and Communication. It benefits an exceptional financial support of the State.

*Image above:
Michel Majerus, Pathfinder, 2002. Digital print on vinyl, 380 x 290 x 3.5 cm.
© Michel Majerus estate, 2002. Courtesy neugerriemschneider, Berlin.

Michel Majerus at Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux
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CAPC Contemporary Art Museum Bordeaux
May 26, 2012

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