Traces du Sacré

Traces du Sacré

Centre Pompidou

April 30, 2008

Traces du Sacré
7 May – 11 August 2008

Mnam (Galerie 1, level 6), Paris

With “Traces du Sacré,” already promising to be one of the major artistic events of the year, the Centre Pompidou returns to the tradition of major multidisciplinary exhibitions that made its reputation, offering a visual exploration of one of the most pressing issues of our time.

Following what has come to be called “the disenchantment of the world,” a significant strain of modern art has found its roots in the turmoil attendant upon the loss of conventional religious belief, a terrain that continues to nourish the development of contemporary forms.

Taking in the whole history of twentieth-century art, from Caspar David Friedrich to Kandinsky, from Malevich to Picasso, and from Barnett Newman to Bill Viola, the exhibition looks at the way in which art to continues to testify, in often unexpected ways, to the existence of a universe beyond, remaining, in a thoroughly secularised world, the profane vehicle of an ineluctable need to rise above the quotidian.

This broad selection of paintings, sculptures, installations and videos brings together some 350 major works – many of them never seen before in France – by almost 200 artists of international renown.

The distinctively multidisciplinary character of the exhibition will be reflected in the Centre’s regular ancillary events, with a programme of film, concerts, video and live performance, a lecture series and a literary colloquium expanding on the theme.

The exhibition is accompanied by a book and a catalogue, both published by Éditions du Centre Pompidou.

After Paris, the exhibition will travel to the Haus der Kunst in Munich (Germany),
19 September 2008 – 11 January 2009.

A distinctive feature of the human species, art makes its appearance in prehistory in close connection with our fundamental concern with the questions of what we are, where we come from, and where we are going.

This link between artistic creation and spiritual uncertainty has been manifest in all the great religions. Since the eighteenth century, however, the West has seen a profound transformation in the relationship between art and religion. The Reformation, the rise of capitalism, the ideals of the Enlightenment,the worship of Reason and the growth of the town all led to what Max Weber called “the disenchantment of the world.”

At the same time, the sense of the withdrawal of the divine that found expression in the Romantics, followed later by Nietzsche’s announcement of the death of God, the advance of science, the emergence of psychoanalysis and the growing influence of Marxism, led to a reconsideration of Man’s place in creation and thus of his relationship to the religious. It was in this landscape of belief violently unsettled that Modern art came to birth. If in the course of this long process the secularisation of society delivered artists from their subordination to the Church, the crisis of religion did not at all mean the disappearance of metaphysical questioning. The argument of this exhibition is that a significant strain of modern art has its roots in
such concerns.

The goal of the exhibition is thus to explore the significance of the survival of such questioning throughout the twentieth century, and to show that it continues to fuel the invention of contemporary artistic forms, and as such represents an essential key to the understanding of modern art.

The exhibition is chronologically organised by thematic sections that successively examine the major aesthetic and spiritual preoccupations of the twentieth century. Each of the twenty themes is also echoed in a contemporary work, demonstrating the continuing actuality of these concerns.

Some examples of thems and artists :

Nostalgia of the Infinite
Ferdinand Hodler, Odilon Redon, Giorgio De Chirico, Kasimir Malevich, Constantin Brancusi, Gina Pane,
Pierre Huyghe

The Great Initiates
Akseli Gallen Kallela, Jean Delville, Charles Sellier, Paul Elie Ranson, Rudolf Steiner, Piet Mondrian, Marcel Duchamp, Hugo Ball, Aleister Crowley, Hilma af Klint, Usco, Gino De Dominicis

Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Vassily Kandinsky, Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Maurizio Cattelan, Bruno Perramant

Although it is Night Alfred Manessier, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Arnulf Rainer, Bill Viola, Emmanuel Saulnier, Pierre Buraglio, Jannis Kounellis, Jean-Michel Alberola, Yazid Oulab, Kris Martin, Eli Petel

Resonances of the Archaic
Roberto Matta, André Masson, Wifredo Lam, Lee Mullican, Wolfgang Paalen, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Robert Smithson, Étienne-Martin, Joseph Beuys, Tobias Collier

Doors of Perception
Henri Michaux, Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, Wallace Berman, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, John Giorno, William Burroughs, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Aldous Huxley, Robert Whitaker, Rick Griffin/Kenneth Anger, Cameron, Aleister Crowley, Harry Smith and Frieda Harris, Isaac Abrams, Jud Yalkut…

Franz Marc, Vladimir Baranov-Rossiné, Erich Heckel, Jean Arp, Paul Klee, Georges Rouault, Christer Strömholm, Francis Bacon, Robert Smithson, Jerzy Grotowsky, Bruce Nauman, Thierry De Cordier

Commissaire général : Alfred Pacquement, director Mnam
Curator : Jean de Loisy
Joint curator : Angela Lampe
Press relations manager : Isabelle Danto
Press officer : Anne-Marie Pereira

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Centre Pompidou
April 30, 2008

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