RDW

SIMPLE SHAPES

Constantin Brancusi, L'Oiseau dans l'espace [Bird in Space], 1936 Plaster, 183.5 × 14 × 15.5 cm Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris © ADAGP, Paris 2014 © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Migeat

Constantin Brancusi, L’Oiseau dans
l’espace [Bird in Space], 1936
Plaster, 183.5 × 14 × 15.5 cm
Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art
moderne, Paris
© ADAGP, Paris 2014
© Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist.
RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Migeat

13.06 > 05.11.14

Centre Pompidou-Metz

Centre Pompidou-Metz and Fondation d’entreprise Hermès have joined together to devise and produce Simple Shapes.

Centre Pompidou-Metz is the first offshoot of a major French cultural institution, Centre Pompidou, in partnership with regional authorities. An independent body, Centre Pompidou-Metz benefits from the experience, expertise and international reputation of Centre Pompidou. It shares with its older sibling values of innovation and generosity, and the same determination to engage a wide public through multi-disciplinary programming.

The exhibition Simple Shapesbrings to the fore our fascination with simple shapes, from prehistoric to contemporary. It also reveals how these shapes were decisive in the emergence of the Modern Age.

The years between the 19th and 20th centuries saw the return of quintessential shapes through major universal expositions which devised a new repertoire of shapes, the simplicity of which would captivate artists and revolutionise the modern philosophy. They introduced, within the evolution of modern art, both an alternative to the eloquence of the human body and the possibility that shapes could be a universal concept.

Nascent debates in physics, mathematics, phenomenology, biology and aesthetic had important consequences on mechanics, industry, architecture and art in general. While visiting the 1912 Salon de la Locomotion Aérienne with Constantin Brancusi and Fernand Léger, Marcel Duchamp stopped short before an aeroplane propeller and declared,

„Painting is dead. Who could better this propeller?”

These pared-down, non-geometric shapes, which occupy space in a constant progression, are no less fascinating today. Minimalist artists such as Ellsworth Kelly and Richard Serra, spiritualist artists such as Anish Kapoor, metaphysical artists such as Tony Smith, or poetic artists such as Ernesto Neto are as attentive to simple shapes as were the inventors of modernity.

The exhibition draws on the senses to explore the appearance of simple shapes in art, nature and tools. This poetic approach is balanced by an analytical view of the twentieth century’s history.

It connects scientific events and technical discoveries with the emergence of modern shapes. Subjects pertaining to industry, mechanics, mathematics, physics, biology, phenomenology and archaeology are equated with objects from art and architecture, which are in turn set alongside their ancient predecessors and natural objects.

The Fondation d’entreprise Hermès is joint producer and patron of Simple Shapes.

 

Curator:

Jean de Loisy, President of Palais de Tokyo, art critic

Associate curators:

Sandra Adam-Couralet, independent curator

Mouna Mekouar, independent curator

Exhibition design:

Laurence Fontaine

www.centrepompidou-metz.fr

 

 

 

 

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