Paris / Marseille is the first part of a four exhibitions series: Paris / Marseille, Paris / Bordeaux, Paris / Nice and Paris / Paris.
This series was born from discussions around the definition of a French scene. The subject is both complex and sensitive since it seems this scene is multifaceted and shifting. Rather than insisting on searching for an impossible definition, I’ve decided to focus on four French cities that are linked to the gallery’s projects and history. The city of Paris feeds on other orbital moments and scenes. Far from viewing the rest of the cities as provincial, it would be better to consider them as orbital and independent. In this way those different territories produced their own thinking and promoted exchanges that later nourished the French scene which is a hybride from all these experiences.
The first part evokes Marseille, not by trying to define the city or describe an incredibly creative, racially mixed and independent town but to try to see how certain artists have explored it and sometimes do justice to it. Richard Baquié, Anita Molinero and Kevin Rouillard are the three artists in this project in representation of a bigger scene. What they have in common is that they are sculptors using identifiable scrap material.
In their texts or interviews, the word anger is present and can be felt. Baquié says "it was violence that motivated my work", Molinero speaks of people’s anger when she shows what is left of trash cans burned during demonstrations, Rouillard speaks about the physical force needed to make his pieces, or in the titles of some series themselves ("extrait tôle choc, le sang des impurs")1..
In fact, Kevin Rouillard’s latest exhibition at the gallery was called "Welding and making mayonnaise", which evoked assembly line work and the exhaustion from repeating the same gestures. We find the same approach in Richard Baquié’s work who is a trained welder. Vindicating working class culture is part of their work process, and their popular references (sci-fi, comics, action films and urban music) take part in a geography of contemporary sculpture.
For each one of these artists, using ordinary materials and scrap is part of deconstructing the bourgeois aesthetics, following on the steps of New Realism, English movements or even Rauschenberg’s Combines. These objects often carry a symbol of displacement, whether it be containers, cans or car parts. These sculptures often work with their environment such as Allan Kaprow did with Yard in 1961 and when he started elaborating the concept of “garagism”. Later on, Pierre Restany would take up these thoughts to reflect about New Realists.