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SYLVIE BONNOT (1982, FR)
“In my work, the image is always at the core, but I feel the need to dissect it or pull it apart, towards sculpture, installation, or something else that might break the habit of a straight shot.”
WHY COLLECT: These works originating from Sylvie Bonnot’s trips in France and abroad—mature examples of her technique of repositioning the silver-gelatin surface of a print—drive deeply into the territory of photography as a medium and its agency in relation to our sense of the surrounding world. They conflate photographic printing and a mental imprint.
BORIS CHOUVELLON (1980, FR)
“Boris Chouvellon has always been fascinated by the other side of the picture, or by what he refers to as ‘the aesthetic of rough areas.'” —Julie Crenn
WHY COLLECT: The series Petites Mains, 2016, is exemplary for its plastic strength and its polysemy (we think of the collections of antique busts, of the precious trophies of tribal headhunters, and of the metaphor of “losing one’s head” as well). The artist exchanges new polystyrene heads for the used ones damaged by the needles of African hairdressers in Parisian immigrant neighborhoods. They serve as molds for his concrete replicas. There is here a suggestion of the Japanese tradition of kintsugi, which does not conceal the repairs made in a precious object but adds a layer of gold or silver to emphasize them. Chouvellon’s photographs of vibrant shreds of flags billowing in amusement parks form a poetic testimony to the contentious and yet seductive objects associated with our immediate history and inescapable needs.
HILARIUS HOFSTEDE (1965, NL)
“More than the brushstroke, the drawing process communicates the territory of dream, and in my case, the savagery of the mind.”
WHY COLLECT: Hofstede’s drawings (seemingly of realistic animal forms) are marked by their idiosyncratic surface tension and materiality. Extraordinary technically, they address a complex conceptual agenda—with the material effect of a prehistoric cave—as vistas on art history, paraphernalia of Pop, Dada collages, and primeval storytelling. Working at the juncture of nature, culture, and technology, the artist offers stylistically fresh, compassionate, and often tongue-in-cheek depictions, addressing our common dreams and disenchantments. Hofstede is a distinctive voice in art, important for his handcrafted, yet vernacular, take on the contemporary shift to vernacular subjects.
CRAIGIE HORSFIELD (1949, UK)
“If we think about cities and the complex societies we inhabit as these vast entities on which we have very little discernible effect, then we are just replicating in our thought the disquiets of our fellow citizens who see little reason to vote, or believe that they can do nothing to change the world around them…“
WHY COLLECT: Craigie Horsfield’s unique prints, frescos and tapestries represent his tour-de-force experimentation with color and digital technology and have an uncanny painterly effect in terms of composition and light. A portrait, a still life, or a scene at first glance, each of Craigie Horsfield’s works unfolds into an intimate epic as our senses give way to stories of our own lives. Horsfield’s large photographs were in Spotlights 2018 at Tate Britain, and 12 of these works from the collection of Michael G. Wilson (of the James Bond franchise) were showcased at Photo London 2016. There is vast literature querying the artist’s painterly photography that speaks to contemporary objectivity: “the object is not colonized by my thinking of it.”
ANDRÉ DE JONG (1945, NL)
“I enact a performance, grab a sketchbook, place photographs on the table, or I walk outside, pick a few butterburs and let them wilt… Drawing is very much part of this process.”
WHY COLLECT: De Jong’s performance-based drawings and sculptured reliefs (the Folds) reflect his stages of conception—in the choice of paper, size, and subject matter. He offers a response to the postminimalist agenda through his minimal redeployment of expressive craft. His need to work serially, to see a series as one work, is fundamental to his search for meaning through his medium—drawing. Writing for the influential magazine De Gids, media theorist Arjen Mulder called De Jong the most important contemporary Dutch draftsman and pitted the “bodily power” of his “organic lines” against that of Piet Mondrian and Paul Klee.
PINO PINELLI (1938, IT)
“My fragments are restless bodies of painting projected into the space, which fluctuate in small and large formations and bear the signs of a strong, vibrant breath of intimate light…”
WHY COLLECT: The idea of dissemination (a sequence of three-dimensional, textured elements scattered across a wall) highlights Pinelli’s radical contribution to reconceptualizing painting as “pittura con corpo”—“painting with the body”—and with an “invitation to touch.” The handcrafted and actually touchable works, in dazzling colors or monochrome, question the expressive craft (color and texture) of painting in relation to framing and wall placement. Pinelli’s works, referencing the volcanic ash and drenching sun of his native Sicily, are a particular response to our sense of nature, architecture, and artifact.
ANDRÉ STEMPFEL (1930, FR)
“rigueur du délire / ce paradoxe / nous l’appelons géométrie / hauteur de l’origine”
(the rigor of delirium / this paradox / we call it geometry / the height of origin)
WHY COLLECT: Stempfel is a distinguished reinterpreter of geometric art. His paintings and drawings are striking provocations in one color—yellow, the yellow of the sun and the beach. After he lost his oeuvre in a fire in 1970, he extended his mastery to urban sculpture. His works are in numerous museum collections, including the Mondriaan House. Ninety years of age, the artist lives and works in Paris and is represented by Galerie Lahumiére.
MARY SUE (ASSUMED IDENTITY)
“This character [of Mary Sue], naïve in appearance, somewhat unconsciously lays bare all the indignities that can befall a woman in our society.” —Hubert Besacier
WHY COLLECT: In these photographs and video work documenting a series of her alter-ego performances on the topic of servitude, Mary Sue uses color and digital manipulation to a poignant uncanny effect. Each detail is thought through to such an extent that it ingeniously carries social meaning in and of itself, expanding on the work’s overall comic theatricality. In Mary Sue’s video presentations, technology is so seamlessly hidden and functionally simple that her pieces become a unique case of a painting on a screen, permeating the surrounding space with light and color when switched on.
ELSA TOMKOWIAK (1981, FR)
“C’est une peinture libre, déployée, affranchie de cadre qui a pour effet de provoquer une expérience sensorielle, véritablement physique, de la couleur. Ainsi, il s’agit bien plus d’une exposition à vivre que d’une exposition à voir.” —David Moinard
(This is a mode of painting that is free, unbounded, freed from the frame, with the effect of provoking a sensory, truly physical experience of color. As a result, Tomkowiak’s exhibitions are much more exhibitions to experience than simply to see.)
WHY COLLECT: With their titles referencing the names accorded to hurricanes, these works are from Elsa Tomkowiak’s recent experimentation to reconceptualize painting. The pigment pounded directly into found foam creates a cosmic color effect and strikes against disenchantment and mechanistic thinking.
MENGZHI ZHENG (1983, FR BORN CN)
“The work reflects my sense of lines and surfaces, observations of the interior and exterior spaces that define our cities and their lived architectures, and the necessity of keeping our eyes open to the world.”
WHY COLLECT: Mengzhi Zheng’s virtuoso formations are compact wood sculptures and paintings in space that reflect his ongoing urban observations and hover between the reality of an architectural model and nonutilitarian art. The works stretch the possibility of sculpture and image construction to reflect urban visual experiences.
ZHU HONG (1975, CN LIVES IN FR)
“Zhu Hong interroge notre perception : jusqu’à quel point ce qui parvient à notre regard diffère de ce qui est devant nous ? Perception versus observation.” —Bertrand Charles
(Zhu Hong questions our sense of perception: how different is that which reaches our eyes from that which stands before us? Perception versus observation.)
WHY COLLECT: The paintings and large-scale muted pencil drawings are a technical feat and a prime example of Zhu Hong’s unmatched ultra-thin proprietary techniques. They test our sense perceptions as the pencil lines capture the sensation of light, most recently in her portrait of water based on photographic impressions and observations.