Lines  – A Brief History or Une brève histoire des lignes

Lines are evolving at the Centre Pompidou Metz: lines of thought by artists on lines, even climbing walls, or suspended in space. ‘Lines  – A Brief History’ or Une brève histoire des lignes is very well curated by Hélène Guenin, and Christian Briend, as it follows the evolution of artists’ pre-occupation with lines from Kadinsky to Dove Allouche. 1200 m2 have been dedicated to 202 pieces of art by 80 artists.


Delving into the evolution of the line as an artistic expression, the exhibition reflects the changing perceptions, and the increasing flexibility in Western society. It also reflects the main concerns and experimentation in different fields over approximately the last hundred years. Contributing to this evolution are works by Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Vera Molnar, Giuseppe Penone, to mention but a few.


Cut sheets of music that played randomly on the streets of New York, the plan of a house, with points matched to Tarot cards, calligraphy, layered spirals, or twisted bits of metal are just some of the ways that this theme has been explored. Far from being a cut and dried affair. Perhaps a history of the philosophical evolution of the last 9 decades can be construed, as one meditates along these lines.


While an absolutely straight line rarely exists in nature, man (of the masculine kind) seems to be bent on walking along it. Not surprisingly, male artists dominate the exhibition. Perhaps it was believed that it would bring one faster to one’s goal than by following circular or spiralled progressions. However, as the work of one artist show, organic growth is rarely along straight lines.


As Western society slowly stopped sticking to the official straight and narrow lines imposed upon by authority figures, the latter part of the exhibition reflects this movement, by delineating lines with a greater liberty of expression. As women came increasingly into power, lines followed curves more than the past. Currently, as our society is going through a flux of changes, so are the lines! While a variety of materials have been used, the styles are in line with the period during which the art was made. The bottom line is that it is a fascinating journey to follow the lines. Until 1st April 2013.


Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawings from 1968 to 2007

In Gallery 2, it took a team 26 days to reconstruct Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings in black and white, ranging from the simple to the complex. Love it, or hate, can’t ignore it. Larger than life, ‘in your face,’ one of the signatures of the asymmetric industrialized age. While some may question why this is considered to be art, others would find the freedom from traditional form exhilarating. Looking at this two-dimensional work too closely, one risks losing one’s perspective.  Until 5th August 2013.


Preparation of an exhibition Sol LeWitt as a collector. The artist and his artists

Enthusiasts of Sol Lewitt can take a closer look at his private collection, with about 100 works by other artists on display in Preparation of an exhibition Sol LeWitt as a collector. The artist and his artists, which will be on display from 18 April to 18 August 2013


Écho d’échos: From Above, work in situ

Yet it’s all about perspective in Daniel Buren’s Écho d’échos: From Above, work in situ. His huge installation fits in so well, that it seems to be a part of the building, which is the whole point of his work. The mirrors reflect the outside and inside of the ceiling, giving an added dimension to the experience of looking down from Gallery 3. Majestically mirrored, the ceiling both rises and falls, adding more clarity to the place. Until October 2013


Live events

Artistic performances were well chosen by Hélène Guenin and Geraldine Celli.


Along the lines of ‘Lines – A Brief History’, one could meditate on the passage of time as Japanese artist, Sachiko Abe turned the simple cutting of paper into a fine art. As one projected oneself into a serene lake of delicate snippets of evenly cut paper, time seemed to flow more slowly, leaving the mind free to meander through the big questions of life. What is time, and how do we deal with it?


On the other hand, time was ephemeral in the few minutes one had with British artist, Fiona Wright, who intuitively created a salt drawing tête-à-tête. Taken as full of symbolic meaning by some, and with a pinch of salt by others.  


However, the exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou are not to be taken lightly, as they are highly researched, and well presented.



Future live musical events include John Cage Project + Etienne Jaumet and Inevitable music by Sebastien Roux.


The Centre Pompidou Metz is one hour by the high-speed train or TGV from Paris, within walking distance of the train station in Metz.


-©2013. Sultana Raza

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