Ahead of the opening of the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s latest exhibition titled ‘In Tune With The World’ I had the privilege to talk to Suzanne Pagé the Artistic Director about FLV, its future and just how it continues to inspire and engage visitors from all over the world.
How do you visualise the evolution of FLV since you joined?
We try to be more and more of a museum and not simply a collection. The world is now infinite without limits. We try and keep an open mind. Past presentations of the collection have featured Chinese and African artists. FLV is multicultural and open to the world. Of course, we continue to support living artists from the collection, that Mssr Arnault believes so strongly in, so there is a balance.
This collection is clearly made up of crème de la crème examples of Contemporary and Modern art. Will it eventually be a gift to France?
The collection is in a place where it will be given to France in 50 years. I will be dead! We will all be dead!
Where do you see the FLV’s role in exposing art to a wider audience?
It is a great privilege to be engaged in the FLV and in art. This is a fantastic mission. If you discover art and can show it to the widest audience possible, that is accomplishing our mission. This is Mssr Arnault’s mission. It is a great responsibility to give this knowledge to the public. So often people don’t realise how much the public want or demand.
Art is like any big subject an equaliser as important as politics and religion. Art helps you understand the world. It helps you be open and to connect. It gives you something, and I understand this because of my age, that when the public discover works in the museum when they go out in the streets, they are not the same again. It can have a life-changing effect on them. They look differently at the world and the situation of the world.
Do you feel it is important for young people to engage with art to understand the world?
Yes, and you also have to give a bit of yourself to art to complete the cycle. With Marcel Duchamp it is clear. It is a dialogue, and when you make this dialogue, it is fantastically rewarding to your understanding. Young people are often more open, less corrupted to be able to start this dialogue.
Because of the sheer size and scope of the building, how do you manage to curate new exhibitions and make them engaging?
That is a good question. It is a challenge each time to exhibit work especially pieces never before shown here. It is not always easy to please everyone, and we aim to raise questions and challenge traditional curation.
Tell me a little bit about ‘In Tune With The World’ Your latest show.
What is clear is man is not the only one in the universe. He has to make dialogue to understand the otherworld. Animal, mineral, vegetal etc… This is here in the work of our current exhibition. I asked the artists if this was part of their message and they all agreed. It is a very sensitive approach. It is a real/true dimension in art. It is living, physical work.
With curation can you change the context of the work by juxtaposing it next to other work?
Curation is like being the conductor of an orchestra. It took time to discover this. You know, a bad work can kill a fantastic work. It’s true. I know that now. Like a black hole sucking the energy from the room.
‘In Tune With The World’ Artists include: Some 29 French and international artists presented in two complementary sequences, with works by: Giovanni Anselmo (1934, Italy), Matthew Barney (1967, USA), Christian Boltanski (1944, France), Mark Bradford (1961, USA), James Lee Byars (1932-1997, USA), Maurizio Cattelan (1960, Italy), Ian Cheng (1984, USA), Trisha Donnelly (1974 , USA), Dan Flavin (1933-1996, USA), Cyprien Gaillard (1980, France), Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966, Switzerland), Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (1965, France), Jacqueline Humphries (1960, USA), Pierre Huyghe (1962, France), Yves Klein (1928-1962, France), Henri Matisse (1869-1954, France), François Morellet (1926-2016, France), Takashi Murakami (1962, Japan), Philippe Parreno (1964, France), Sigmar Polke (1941-2010, Germany), Gerhard Richter (1932, Germany), Wilhelm Sasnal (1972, Poland), Kiki Smith (1954, USA), Adrián Villar Rojas (1980, Argentina), Anicka Yi (1971, South Korea).
In this curation, the artists listed above re-appropriate ‘founding myths’ and develop a new awareness of living things that are significant to the congested world we live in.
Inspired by Roland Barthes’s injunction in La Chambre Claire: “I have determined to be guided by the consciousness of my feelings” (La Chambre Claire, 1980) The exhibition is divided into sequences.
Sequence A, which is located on floor 2, is made up of displays by the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. His practice is centred around a culture relating to ancestral and contemporary, life in Japan. It includes historical trauma and natural disasters. It unfolds in three parts: the first is arranged around DOB, a character invented by the artist and considered to be his alter ego; the second around a pictorial fresco which references the story of the “EIGHT IMMORTALS” of the Taoist religion; completing the display is a “KAWAII” space of sculptures and animated films.
Sequence B extends through the rest of the building. It explores the current and recurring issues concerning man’s position within the universe and his relationship with other living things. The question has inspired artists and has led them to engage with and create pieces that resonate with works by researchers, scientists and also poets and philosophers; each artist questions the relationship between the different living beings, beyond the distinctions of human, plant, animal.
Interview Conducted By Paul Carter Robinson – Photos: Paul Carter Robinson © Artlyst 2018
The exhibition ‘In Tune With The World’ runs from 11 April until 27th August 2018 Visit Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris