Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

From Sep 23, 2015 to Feb 1, 2016
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Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster is a major artist on the French and international scene. Her work draws on a living memory of film, literature and the open structures of architecture and music as ways of exploring the possibilities of the artistic realm. Through a maze of rooms, environments and passages, this completely new exhibition devoted to her by the Centre Pompidou, entitled "Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. 1887-2058", sets around thirty works in relation with each other in the Galerie Sud, the terraces of the museum's fifth floor and the Atelier Brancusi garden (subject to certain conditions). Both retrospective and forward-looking, the exhibition lays out an open time line in the space, going from 1887 to 2058. It combines several centuries and climates, starting in the late 19th century and moving through the experiences of the 20th, immersing viewers in landscapes and interiors that are tropical, arid, biographical and dystopian in turn. This collection of parallel realities and staged areas, where the genres of landscape, portrait and period rooms coexist, becomes a fictional abode with numerous entrances. Sometimes stages, sometimes games areas, sometimes introspective narratives, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster's rooms, films and apparitions bring all kinds of visions from film, literature and science together, like an opera or musical, turning the exhibition into a heterogeneous, multiple world teeming with sensations, narratives and quotations.
In Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster's work, there is a tension between finite and infinite, fragmentation and aspiration to a whole, appearance and disappearance: a superimposition of time and rhizomatic spaces which, through their porosity, can be analysed, as Danielle Cohen-Levinas puts it, as a "phenomenon of condensation, a small-scale version of an infinite extension of chronological events [...] which mingle with the instant, the here and now." From the "Rooms" - theatres without actors - to the "Biographical Sessions", which liberate fiction, memory and moods; from Ann Lee to her "apparitions" as Fitzcarraldo or Vera Nabokov, her entire output can be reinterpreted as a phenomenon of expanded time and space, literature, cinema and the limits of identity, all composing a huge opera. Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster leaves the work in suspense and displacement, in order to make it appear "here and now" in spaces that are all thresholds meant to be crossed by the imagination. She situates viewers in the heart of the work, just as Alain Resnais in L'Année dernière à Marienbad suggested that viewers be "in the cinema for the first time [...] the co-creator of a film [...]. It is for them to decide whether this or that image is real or imaginary, whether an image represents the past or present, and to decipher the clues, standpoints and plot using their own sensibility and memories.
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