kamel mennour presents Walt Disney Productions, the first exhibition of the acclaimed French artist Bertrand Lavier at the gallery.
Bertrand Lavier’s series Walt Disney Productions, inaugurated in 1984, began quite literally with a Walt Disney cartoon published in Le Journal de Mickey under the French title Traits très abstraits (a play on words meaning literally “very abstract lines”), which told of Minnie and Mickey’s visit to a modern art museum. Bertrand Lavier isolated the narrative’s paintings and sculptures and enlarged them to the presumed format. In so doing, he short‐circuited the circuit of representation by making tangible (raising to the status of art) that which until then was merely décor and fiction. The photographic paintings and sculptures made from this cartoon are now destined to float in an undecidable space in that they retain the form of their original “territory” though they have actually left it behind. They are not the enlargement of drawings with modern art for subject, but perfectly iconic paintings and sculptures that embody a certain doxa of modernity. Bertrand Lavier’s translation brings to light a repressed dimension of reproduction, which reaches beyond stereotype to attain a form of universality. In this respect, Walt Disney Productions is more than an ironic commentary on art told to children; it reminds us, as the artist says, that “it is the virtual world that enables us to approach a deeper reality.”
‐ Bernard Marcadé
Since the late 1960s, Bertrand Lavier’s œuvre has subverted the traditional categories of artistic classification. Exploring the relationships between painting and sculpture, representation and abstraction, life and art, “[…] one of the most important and elementary principles for [him] is precisely [that he doesn’t] want to be the prisoner of any aesthetic” (in Bertrand Lavier depuis 1969, Centre Pompidou, 2012). Moving fluidly from one medium to the next within the controlled space of his exhibitions, he continuously develops and experiments with strategies of translation, transposition, and conversion, ultimately disrupting our familiar ways of perceiving and conceiving art.
His work has been shown in numerous solo exhibitions at the Monnaie de Paris; the Centre Georges Pompidou; the Serpentine Gallery, London; the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Le Consortium, Dijon. It will soon be exhibited at the Convent of the Jacobins in Rennes on the occasion of “Debout! ” – exhibition presenting a selection of works from the François Pinault Collection –, as well as in the Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo, Japan; and the MoMu ‐ Middelheim Museum in Antwerp, Belgium.