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August 2021

Biennale de l’UMAM

« Moi, je »

It’s the big exhibition of the summer in Cagnes-sur-Mer: 41 artists brought together in the castle-cum-museum to offer their interpretation of the ego – their own and ours too

By Tanja Stojanov
Gérard Garouste, Le Maître Panetier et Le Maître Echanson, huiles sur toile. Courtesy Galerie Templon, Paris-Bruxelles.
Philippe Cognée, Autoportrait, peinture à la cire sur toile. Courtesy Galerie Templon, Paris-Bruxelles.

This exhibition is a must-see. The theme of “Me and I” has enticed contemporary art into philosophical byways. While life and the world seem to be speeding up again, Moi, Je invites us to step aside awhile – so that we won’t fall in love with our own reflections like Pierre & Gilles’ Narcissus. A Damien Hirst skull in a lively whirl of colours reminds us that all is vanity. Then we come face to face with some Gérard Garouste paintings and a striking self-portrait by Philippe Cognée made with melted wax that’s then cooled and crushed, giving a soft visual effect to his sharply observed reality. Simone Dibo-Cohen, chair of the Union Méditerranéenne pour l’Art Moderne, has assembled works by big names and emerging artists, with the main focus, of course, on artists with a strong local connection. Gérard Taride, for example, from whom we have an ambitious installation with microphones that distort visitors’ voices through an unseen sound system; you’re immersed in a red atmosphere, surrounded by dozens of cameras flashing, while the music turns your mind inward. Then there’s Laurent Papillon with a deliciously funny juxtaposition of words and sounds applied to a baroque, illusionist ceiling fresco. The sitters in Victor Soren’s walnut stain portraits gaze solemnly out, while Eric Massholder offers fantasies created from cut-out magazine pages. Altogether 41 artworks, inspiring us to think differently about our relationship with ourself and others.

Jusqu’au 3 janvier 2022
Château-Musée Grimaldi