Magazine article Artforum International

Bertrand Lavier: Villa Medici

Magazine article Artforum International

Bertrand Lavier: Villa Medici

Article excerpt

Bertrand Lavier's crowded universe of objects is taken from an iconographic territory that seems to have no limits. This stimulating survey, curated by Giorgio Verzotti within the historic setting of the Villa Medici, poses questions about genres and artistic languages--and provides responses that are sometimes disorienting, sometimes enlightening. The well-paced installation summarizes all the so-called chantiers (construction sites) ... thematic types that repeat over time in Lavier's production, with thirty-three works ranging in date from 1986 to 2008.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Lavier's chosen strategy is irony. La Bocca/Bosch, 2005--a red sofa shaped like a mouth, placed atop a freezer--welcomed visitors into the Villa's atrium. Named only by their brands, the objects Lavier displays are mere material, mass-produced. Yet at the same time, they generate a proliferating combination of meanings, always indicating an alternation--and a short circuit--between "high" and "low." In the cosmetic-like quality of the thick, uniform paint that covers a grand piano (Steinway & Sons, 1987), or in the trivializing patina of nickel that coats precious artifacts in a group of sculptures from 2008, mutation is part of the genetic code; the works are enveloped in an inexorable spiral of associations that collapse, one upon another. In a move reminiscent of Haim Steinbach's particular treatment of the readymade, Lavier rescues everyday objects from consumption and moves them from a utilitarian to an aesthetic context, as in the various Objets Socles (Objects on Pedestals), 1995-2007-a refrigerator door, a lock, an electric saw, a skateboard--presented on pedestals. They lose their function, creating an anomalous distance and a disturbing perspectival relationship between viewers and the objects.

Lavier's taste for distortion is most striking in Societes Generales, 2008, an installation of eight colored ceramic pieces created for this show, each of which is a manipulation and simplification of the logo of a different international bank. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.