Ever since the first exhibition of emblematic works from its collection, during the 2014 inauguration of the building designed by Frank Gehry, Fondation Louis Vuitton has regularly exhibited different selections of works following the Collection’s four distinct predetermined categories: Contemplative, Expressionist, Pop, Music & Sound (2014/2016), or groups of works from specific events dedicated to China (2016) and Africa (2017).
Throughout the galleries of the Frank Gehry building, “In Tune with the World” (11th April – 27th August 2018) unveils a new selection of artists from the collection, of several different mediums, bringing together modern and contemporary works, most of which have never before been exhibited in these spaces.
More than a simple hanging of works, “In Tune with the World” is intended to be an exhibition based on a specific theme. This reflects today’s questions about man’s place in the universe and the bonds that tie him to his surrounding environment and living world, highlighting the interconnections between humans, animals, plants, and even inanimate objects.
Two complementary sequences cover the entire building:
Sequence A, located on the 2nd floor of the building (galleries 9, 10 and 11), offers an immersion into the world of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami (born in 1962).
Drawing on Japan’s political, cultural and social history, Takashi Murakami cultivates a world apart, both dark and fabulous, which combines Kawaii aesthetics with references to his country’s traumas, such as the atomic bomb or, more recently, the tsunami. Through the multiplicity of forms and materials represented in this exhibition (such as paintings, sculpture and videos), the prolific work of Takashi Murakami gives free rein to an unbridled imagination, saturated with colours and populated by fantastic creatures, half-human-half-animal, mixing popular and scholarly cultures, Buddhist iconography and manga, tradition and modernity, West and East, ancestral techniques and advanced technology.
This display, conceived in strict collaboration with the artist, is organised around three motifs.
– Gallery 9 is dedicated to DOB, the first character invented by the artist in 1993 and considered to be his alter ego. He appears both in the guise of a cute rodent in the style of Mickey Mouse and as a malicious, fierce monster, covered in eyes and sharp teeth.
– Gallery 10 shows a monumental fresco exhibited in Paris for the first time. Entitled The Octopus eats its own leg (2017); it depicts characters from Chinese mythology surrounded by lavish, marvellous fauna and flora. By borrowing from the traditional iconography of 18th century Japanese painting and combining it with the style of the great historical frescoes, the artist delivers a contemporary version of the Eight Immortals of the Taoist religion.
– Gallery 11 features a space of Kawaii (meaning ”cute” in Japanese). The artist reinterprets this Japanese aesthetic through a variety of forms and media: sculpture, wallpapers, flower paintings and animated films inspired by manga.
Sequence B, Man in the living universe, brings together 28 French and international artists from different generations and techniques. It extends over the other three floors of the building and the outside Grotto area.
Inspired by the assertion of Roland Barthes in La Chambre claire (Camera Lucida) (1980) “I have determined to be guided by the consciousness of my feelings”, the works are themed around the idea of emotional affinity.
The itinerary is structured around three complementary themes, each presented on one floor of the building: Irradiances (1st floor); Là, infiniment… [Here, infinitely…] (Ground floor); L’Homme qui chavire [The man who capsizes] (Pool level).
Irradiances, on the 1st floor, in galleries 5, 6 and 7, presents works by: Matthew Barney, Mark Bradford, Christian Boltanski, Trisha Donnelly, Dan Flavin, Jacqueline Humphries, Pierre Huyghe, Yves Klein, James Lee Byars, François Morellet, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Shimabuku and Anicka Yi.
The title “Irradiances” refers to the light beam of Dan Flavin and brings together works in a variety of media: paintings, sculptures, videos, installations. Each work is about man’s continuous dialogue with nature, exploring how different materials and their metamorphoses can create a cosmic landscape.
Dan Flavin’s Untitled, one of his first fluorescent tube creations, exudes a force from within that gives the sculpture a unique quality.
Whilst the dazzling colours are rigorously structured in Lilak (1982) by Gerhard Richter, the two works in his Flow (2013) series refers to the flow of paint spread by the artist’s hand and tamed by a glass panel placed on the surface acting as a mirror.
Sigmar Polke adopts a secretly alchemical approach in his work Nachtkappe I (1986), born from a unique blend of paint, indigo juice and alcohol varnish.
Water Cast 6 (2015) by Matthew Barney presents the explosive result of mixing molten bronze with water, which produces a set of abstract organic forms reminiscent of the subtleties of fine jewellery.
Pierre Huyghe’s aquarium, entitled Cambrian explosion 10 (2014), echoes the eponymous event which marked the appearance of large animal species between 530 and 542 million years ago. The work takes the form of an autonomously evolving ecosystem.
Yves Klein’s monochrome IKB81 (1957) instantly conveys a “zone of pictorial sensitivity”, while the sponge works RE46 (1960) and SE231 (1960) see living matter saturated with the same blue pigment.
Reports of the Rain by Mark Bradford (2014) unites collage and painting in a highly musical lyrical vein.
Echoing Polke’s approach, Jacqueline Humphries uses an industrial silver lacquer mixed with oil paint in the work Untitled (2007) from the “Silver Paintings” series.
The vertical projection by Trisha Donnelly, Untitled (2014), creates a mysterious opening in a skyscape of moving clouds.
In the sculptures, Halo (1985) and Is (1989), James Lee Byars combines two mineral materials, copper and marble, with the extreme refinement of gold, in search of a perfect form.
In Gallery 6, L’Avalanche by François Morellet (2006) mixes together order and chaos.
Anicka Yi’s 3D video, The Flavor Genome (2016) (co-acquired with the Guggenheim Museum, New York), develops a fictional documentary depicting the search for an aroma in the Amazonian rainforest.
In Untitled (2008) by Trisha Donnelly, a magnetic wave springs from the heart of a perfectly-contoured rose.
In the Observatory, Shimabuku’s video The Snow Monkeys of Texas – Do snow monkeys remember snow mountains? (2016) questions the memory and capacity of adaptation of living species to their environment.
Standing apart in gallery 7, Animitas (2014) by Christian Boltanski consists of a real-time film using a single static shot in the Atacama Desert in Chile and a bed of flowers. The original installation consists of eight hundred small Japanese bells whose ringing evokes “the music of the stars and the voice of floating souls”. For the occasion, he adds a finishing touch to this presentation with a luminous sign composed of light bulbs that form the word “After”.
Here, infinitely …, on the ground floor, in gallery 4, presents works by Cyprien Gaillard, Wilhelm Sasnal and Adrián Villar Rojas.
By way of reworking iconic works from the history of art, these three artists reflect on man’s domination throughout history as well as on his potential demise.
Inspired by Michelangelo’s David, of which here only the legs remain, Adrián Villar Rojas’ monumental marble sculpture, Untitled, from the series Theatre of Disappearance (2017), appears as the sole remnant of a post-apocalyptic world.
With Bathers in Asnières (2010), Wilhelm Sasnal reinterprets Seurat’s work based on memories related to life in Poland in 1939.
Combining images in different sequences with the haunting refrain of music by Alton Ellis “I was born a loser” / “I was born a winner”, Nightlife (2015) by Cyprien Gaillard offers the viewer an immersive experience in 3D.
The man who capsizes, at the pool level, in galleries 1, 2 and 3, displays works by Giovanni Anselmo, Maurizio Cattelan, Ian Cheng, Andrea Crespo, Alberto Giacometti, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Pierre Huyghe, Yves Klein, Mark Leckey, Henri Matisse, Philippe Parreno, Bunny Rogers and Kiki Smith.
This sequence is inspired by the body in all its forms, from the most tangible to the most imaginary, taking The Man who capsizes (1950-1951) by Alberto Giacometti as its starting point, around which a set of four other works by the artist is presented: Three men walking I (1948), Bust of a Man sitting (Lotar III) (1965), Tall Woman II (1960), and Woman from Venice III (1956-1957) which is exhibited for the first time. At the entrance to gallery 1, in M.2062 (Fitzcarraldo) (2014), Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster makes an appearance in the form of a hologram of the character Fitzcarraldo, the protagonist of a work of fiction by Werner Herzog.
Entrare nell’Opera (1971), a photographic work by Giovanni Anselmo, shows a silhouette absorbed into an infinite landscape.
In Henri Matisse’s Nu bleu aux bas verts (blue nude with green stockings) (1954), the body, in paper cut-outs, is celebrated by the flight of dance.
The bronze sculpture of Kiki Smith, the Annunciation (2010), imposes a mysterious presence.
In Yves Klein’s anthropometry ANT 104 (1960), the imprint of bodies, “living paint brushes”, is revealed by the single blue pigment.
In the second episode of his trilogy, Emmisary Forks at Perfection (2015), Ian Cheng presents a creature entirely programmed by software, an alternative to faded humanity.
Exhibited for the first time in France, Pierre Huyghe’s Untitled (Human Mask) (2014) shows a monkey dressed as a little girl wearing a Japanese Noh theatre mask, wandering around a deserted restaurant near Fukushima.
In La ballade de Trotski (The ballad of Trotsky) (1996), Maurizio Cattelan represents mankind with a horse, evoking the possible end of utopia. Self-portraits of the artist in latex, Spermini (1997), address the matter of the double and cloning.
Andrea Crespo explores her dual identity in her diptych Self portrait with Phantom Twin (2017).
In Study for Joan Portrait and Study for Joan Portrait (Silence of the Lambs) (2016), inspired by the character of Joan of Arc in the television series Clone High, Bunny Rogers creates a gallery of modelled portraits.
Philippe Parreno opens and closes the sequence at the pool level with two videos: the first, The Writer (2007) – at the entrance to gallery 1 – appropriates one of the first robots created in the eighteenth century, whilst Anywhen (2017) – in Gallery 3 – films an octopus responding to its environment, accompanied by a soundtrack inspired by James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.
Outside the building, Mark Leckey’s giant Felix the cat (2017) is installed in the Grotto.
Head curator: Suzanne Pagé
Curators: Angéline Scherf, Ludovic Delalande and Claire Staebler
Artistic advisor and set designer: Marco Palmieri