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Jean-Michel Alberola

L’aventure des Détails
From 19/02/2016 to 16/05/2016

“I just do details, and that’s all I do. I quite simply count on the details adding up.” (1)

Jean-Michel Alberola (born in 1953 in Algeria, lives in Paris) is at once one of the best-known and most mysterious French artists of his generation. In February 2016, the Palais de Tokyo is inviting him to put on a large-scale solo show, the first in Paris since his retrospective at the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, almost 20 years ago.  


Political, poetic, committed and profound, Jean-Michel Alberola’s oeuvre is a geography rather than a history, a panorama that allows him to act artistically on reality, feelings and the state of the world, through paintings, neon lights, films, texts, objects, installations, sculptures, murals, publications and tracts.

Standing between conceptualism, abstraction and figuration, artistic reflexion and political questioning, Jean-Michel Alberola’s strikingly unique work is never devoid of humour. The artist pieces employ both fragmentation and superimposition, marrying plastically the word to the language of forms. By associating fragments of bodies or geographies to ambiguous statements or injunctions (such as Is the exit inside? or Neither law nor grace), he composes series of philosophical rebuses which question how we see art’s role in society.

Jean-Michel Alberola’s solo show at the Palais de Tokyo sets out to map the little-known diversity of his work, by strolling in his company along the interstices separating aesthetics, politics, and feelings.

By presenting several new works in a dialogue with previous creations, including all of his neon-lights, as well as several large murals, L’aventure des détails will initiate a journey stimulating both the eyes and the mind. Drawing into its pathway major thinkers, from Robert Louis Stevenson to Guy Debord, or from Franz Kafka to Karl Marx, it will stand as the departure point for a broader reflection about history and the state of world, in time or in motion, from its smallest to most cutting-edge aspects.


Curator: Katell Jaffrès

(1) Artist’s statement, quoted in an interview published in the review Entre, 2014.

A monographic book published by Palais de Tokyo is accompagning this show.

This exhibition benefits from the support of