Aix is full of very strange art this month, try and like it as I may.
Various artists from all around the Mediterranean are on show at the Granet this month in an exhibition called ‘Cadavre Exquis’. This apparently is a surrealist game where artists stimulate each other into producing art based on the one before. But I really couldn’t find any links between these ‘works’ at all. Maybe if there had been an explanatory guide in English it would have helped because the French one is very abstracted and difficult to make sense of.
There are some individual items that are interesting – loved the room dedicated to Orhan Pamuk and Istanbul, and there is a magical blue installation by an Italian artist as you go up to the first floor.
Above is ’Parlons d’Amour’ a banquet-performance by Cypriot artist Lia Lapithi – a beautifully laid table which acts as a set for a scripted dialogue between women (head-sets and scripts provided).
But there is some very strange music being played throughout the gallery and weird video installations – for instance a film of a donkey that was painted to look like a zebra in Gaza, a sad true story of the lengths an impoverished zoo went to in order to attract customers. The film shows it being hosed with water and one would expect the paint to come off, but it doesn’t. I really couldn’t figure this out and there was no-one to ask. Another film showed Palestian men shaking the olives from the trees. I donned the head-sets and waited to see what happened next. And waited. And waited.
It’s all quite entertaining in an odd sort of way – just 4€… so not a big investment. Maybe one of the daily guided tours may help (15:00 French only).
This is ‘Room in Aix’ by Franz West, which according to the explanatory panel, ‘uses the judicial process, the judge, defendant and attorney, as staging while adding humour and levity to the serious nature of the location’. It has previously been exhibited in Italy where it was called ‘Room in Rome’. So did it symbolise something different there? I think it looks cheap, inappropriate and adds nothing to the location.
Huang Yong Ping is the artist responsible for the installation at the lovely Hotel de Gallifet in rue Cardinale – what a location. But back to the artwork. I just wondered what inspired this artist to recreate Osama Bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad in clay and plant vegetation in it.
Ping writes, ‘Nature has no intention of getting involved in human history. Grass goes on along its way, growing where it can. It might just win and take over everything’. As indeed it does. But why this? I don’t know where it came from but last Friday the lorry delivering it blocked the whole road as it craned the installation into the courtyard – at what cost to make a rather obvious point?
My vote though goes to the dotty trees in the Cours Mirabeau - they look just fabulous! What do you think?