PHILIPPE BAUDELOCQUE, – + | = +
“When you make a drawing on a wall, you can feel its depth: what you’re doing is purloining the entire energy of the building’s mass. I’m interested in quantum physics, mathematics, rhythms, proportions, and the laws of nature. For me, the term ‘fusion’ describes the translation into an artistic language of the laws governing the structure of living beings, which I convey by using the equation – + | = +. I have made my own the principle of functionalist architecture as expressed by the Chicago architect Louis Sullivan, while adapting it to my own ends: “Form follows function follows fusion.” In my work, I try to remount the chain of causes. At the Palais de Tokyo, I intend to compose the space on a daily basis, like a blog, over several months.”
Philippe Baudelocque traces his cosmic bestiary in white chalk on a black background, with his infinite universes, handprints, UFOs in perspective, intermingled magmas and vegetal stars, all of which make for a series of pieces composed of mysterious, desacralized symbols. His fragile, ephemeral frescoes contain cells, shooting stars, crossed lines and other patterns – his “codex” – all sketched in advance in a notebook.
At the Palais de Tokyo, for his first large-scale project in an institution, Philippe Baudelocque is refurbishing a monumental staircase – between a spatial elevation and a fall into the abyss – where he is weaving connections between different series, plunging the spectators profoundly into his atomic trajectories. Between the lines and shadings of these unstable landscapes, the macro meets the micro, the physical becomes mental, the vertical defies the horizontal, the solid answers to the liquid, strength cohabits with the vulnerable, and the wild takes on a domesticated look.
Philippe Baudelocque was born in 1974 in Yerres (France), where he lives and works. Raised by a family of musicians, and a father who is an animal painter, he started out as an artist in the graffiti scene of the late 1980s: what he was to keep from this experience is a passion for working on letters, the monumentality of painting, as well as the energy and desire to confront art with the environment. After graduating from the Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris in 2002, Baudelocque exhibited at Drawing Now (2014), at the Museum of Modern Art MACRO (Rome) and his work has entered the collections of the Museum d’Histoire Naturelle, Orléans, and of the Centre Pompidou. He has produced ever more XXL murals, from Paris to Hong Kong, without forgetting Canada. He is supported by the galerie du jour agnès b. (Paris).
STELIOS FAITAKIS, ELEGY OF MAY, PART I: THE DEEPNESS OF THINGS. PART II: THE ROUND TABLE.
On gold or silver backgrounds, Stelios Faitakis’s history paintings decompose architecture, geometric symbols, or typography, while remixing references and techniques, from the paintings of Dürer to the murals of Diego Riviera, while embracing Cretan or Byzantine icons and the heritage of graffiti.
His desacralized icons present flaming haloes, Palestinian resistance fighters, riots, or the excesses of capitalism, dissolved into landscapes in which businessmen are hanged, along with the bling-bling debauches of gilded youth or, more recently, the deadly crossings of migrants. At the Palais de Tokyo, Stelios Faitakis is presenting two murals on the theme of non-submission, with the artist weaving connections between the events of May 68 as influenced by Situationist thought, which he now updates with the current actions of the 15-M Movement who – from New York to Madrid, via Paris, Athens or even Chili – have been attempting to shake up our era.
Born in 1976, Stelios Faitakis lives and works in Athens. Before starting to paint in a studio, Stelios Faitakis came to prominence at the heart of the rising Greek graffiti scene in the mid-1990s. After graduating from the Athens School of Fine Art, his worked was presented in the group show “Shit and Die” at the Palazzo Cavour, Turin (2014), at the first Kiev Biennale (2012), on the façade of the Danish Pavillion at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011), in the collective exhibition “Art in the Street” at the MoCa, Los Angeles (2011) or at the first biennale “Destroy Athens” (2007). He is represented by the Breeder gallery (Athens).
JR & OSGEMEOS, MANUTENTION
For this first original collaboration in an institution, JR and OSGEMEOS have worked in a secret underground tunnel in the Palais de Tokyo. During the German Occupation of France (1940-1944), the basements of the Palais de Tokyo were used to store thousands of pianos confiscated from Jews during the Nazis’ “furniture roundups”. Working on the memories of these walls, the artists have stuck up photographs – including some from the Koblenz album – produced paintings based on archive pictures, burnt the ceilings and made sculptures from candles.
Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, also known as OSGEMEOS, were born in Sao Paulo in 1974, where they live and work. They started out in graffiti in 1987, in the Cambuci neighbourhood. Their Melting Pot pictures mingle codes from graffiti and hip hop, Brazilian folklore, politics, alternative circuses and mythology. Since 2002, they have been painting a series of yellow “Giants”, in public spaces, so as to make our cities shrink visually.
JR was born in the Paris region in 1983. He lives and works between Paris and New York. He found a camera on the metro in 2001 and photographed his nocturnal wanderings in the underground, or across the roofs of Paris with his fellow taggers, thus initiating a long XXL photographic project, in black and white, which he displays in public spaces so as to reveal the invisible sides of the entire world, from French city suburbs to Turkey, from Times Square to the Louvre, taking in the ghettos of Kenya and the favelas of Brazil. JR won the TED Prize in 2011.
The artworks of JR and OSGEMEOS have been presented in a large number of museums and institutions (Palais de Tokyo, Centre Pompidou, MoCa, the Boston ICA, the Tate Modern, the Pantheon, Times Square …) and are part of numerous public collections (MAB FAAP – Museu des Arte Brasileira …).
OLIVIER KOSTA-THEFAINE, SOFFITTO
Olivier Kosta-Théfaine considers himself to be a “landscape painter”. In his work, vandalism is tinged with classicism, and the margins become central. Kosta-Théfaine dissects the city at its edges, with its bad reputations and urban legends. He paints the abstract details of a street, observes the weeds, burns ceilings with a lighter, and breaks glass bottles so as to produce French-style gardens or to create football fan scarves, in homage to the banlieues, while targeting the tension that exists between the desire to flee them and the need to defend them body and soul.
At Palais de Tokyo, Kosta-Théfaine has taken charge of three cupolas, on which he has composed a burnt sky with a lighter – a technique coming from the entrances to blocks of council flats, where young kids burn time by writing in fire on the ceilings – thus mingling classic frescoes from Italian palazzos with the traditions of everyday inner-city vandalism.
Curator: Hugo Vitrani
In 2012, the Palais de Tokyo initiated the LASCO PROJECT, to showcase artistic projects setting the street within artistic history in its building’s subterranean passages. Since December 2012, nearly sixty international artists have participated, from Futura 2000 to Cleon Peterson, taking in Mode 2, Boris Tellegen, Dran, Skki, Evol, Vhils, Azyle, Antwan Horfée and Ken Sortais, Lek & Sowat, O’clock or else Craig Costello. All of these secret interventions which can be inaccessible, invisible or monumental, square up to the Palais de Tokyo’s plain architecture and stand as one of the strangest urban art projects in a cultural centre. Whether as architectural ruins, inner demons, suburban violence, homelessness, social tensions, choreography of the body, or a political impulse on the walls, art imposes itself on the margins and disturbs the frontiers. It dives down into unknown dark gulches, spills out into the Palais de Tokyo’s most official spaces, and sometimes escapes onto the street. When put in relation one with the other, these interventions show that the institution is a wasteland where the imaginary can run against the current. For its sixth season, the LASCO PROJECT is inviting five French and international artists to make something new once again of the spaces in the Palais de Tokyo.