In 1871, at the Hôtel des Étrangers, in the Latin Quarter, at the time of the Paris Commune (in which several of them took part), a dozen of the greatest rebel poets, including Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine, Charles Cros, Germain Nouveau and André Gill, gathered around a common project, co-written and drawn, out of gauge and, in more than one respect, subversive: the Album Zutique. It was one of the first and most important collective works that heralded the modern spirit in Europe.
In the course of the 20th century, some artists and poets devoted themselves, even further than others, to intersubjective experimentation and cooperative working methods. To begin with, the Dadaists and the Surrealists: the Cadavres Exquis first written and then drawn collectively from 1922 according to the principle of intuitive or "automatic" collaboration, constitutes the most striking example. It is this explosive mixture of the inventions of artists and professional writers with those of "citizens or citizens come from elsewhere" that provided one of the most disruptive and liberating contributions of the "eros of group".
With regard to the artistic production of the XX and XXI centuries, it appears that numerous collaborations between artists are the fruit of friendships, of fortuitous or deliberate meetings (as the Eye Cacodylate of Picabia and his close relations, in 1921, or as the Great collective antifascist Table, cry of choral revolt against colonialism and the torture of 1960). Here, it is the spontaneous mode of production, allowing to multiply the creative energies, which is more important than any other technical or formal concern.
From Picasso to Picabia, from Gabrielle Buffet to Arp, from Hains to Bryen or Villeglé, from Matta to Brauner, from Brecht to Filliou, from Beuys to Paik, from Salomé to Fetting, from Camilla Adami to Peter Saul, from Klein to Saint-Phalle and Tinguely, from Spoerri to Kaprow, from McCarthy to Rhoades, from Roth to Rainer, from Burroughs to Gysin, from Pommereulle to Fleischer (not to mention the various forms of action art, including happening), 117 works are brought together offering - for the first time - different types of collaborative works from public and private collections.
This exhibition provides evidence that philosophers, writers, musicians, and filmmakers of all genres have also produced experimental collective works that, by their very singularity, challenge and question the scale of "market values" and dominant aesthetic codes.
The illustrated catalog includes essays giving a history of these productions, specifying the choices made as well as those of the rejected works (in particular those produced by constituted groups and couples of artists), opening up avenues of reflection on the passage from "I" to "we". We will see that some artists have accomplished a collegial and intersubjective qualitative leap to which academic historians, to date, have remained stubbornly blind.
- CURATOR :
JEAN-JACQUES LEBEL, VISUAL ARTIST, WRITER, CREATOR OF ARTISTIC EVENTS
BLANDINE CHAVANNE, GENERAL CURATOR OF HERITAGE
- SCENOGRAPHY: FLORIANE PIC AND JORIS LIPSCH - STUDIO MATTERS
- EXHIBITION CONCEIVED AND ORGANIZED BY THE MUCEM IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE KUNSTMUSEUM IN WOLFSBURG, WHERE IT WILL BE PRESENTED FROM MAY 14 TO SEPTEMBER 24, 2023.