curated by Nancy Huston
Our new exhibition will be entrusted to the writer Nancy Huston, for whom this will be the first curation of an exhibition. She only accepted our proposal to take over the Bridge in September on the condition that she could develop the theme of the monster.
The monster is the other, the idiot, the unthinkable, the unthought of, but it is also the one who defies the norm and the laws of nature. Through the works of art brut and contemporary art chosen by Nancy Huston, the monster - whether fantasized or real - testifies to the persistence of ancestral fears and the strength of our imaginations.
It grows. It grows inside me. It grows. I feel it. It is sensitive, sensual. It burns, moves, snorts. It is more beautiful, more alive, more powerful than me. Sometimes I try to resist him but he is irresistible. As soon as I open my mouth, he roars and it’s great: his roar resounds, ricochets, fills the universe, intoxicates me. When he emerges, he rips off my politeness like Superman rips off Clark Kent’s clothes. Triumphant, it absorbs me, appropriates me, assimilates me and abolishes me. It is a pleasure to be one with him. It devastates, shreds, crushes, it’s not me, it’s me, it’s me, it’s not me, it comes from before, it goes through me, it’s not my fault, it’s out of my fault, out of me, out of me.
Exhibited artists : Jorge Alberto Cadi, Hélène Delprat, José Manuel Egea, Eugène Gabritschevsky, Gérard Garouste, Anouk Grinberg, Tomasz Machciński, Gastineau Massamba, Michel Nedjar, Chloé Poizat, Cécile Raynal, Lionel Sabatté.
He is the most widely exhibited and published living art brut artist, yet the extraordinary trajectory of this Frenchman raises a question that is rarely addressed: that of the impermanence of art brut. Discovered by Jean Dubuffet at a time when he was working on the resurgence of the symbolic body, he allowed himself to become the protean artist we know and who, in his creation, embodies absolute freedom. His work can be found in countless collections, and he was the first artist brut to enter the collections of the Musée national d’art moderne (Pompidou). Exhibited at the Monnaie de Paris, the Albertina Museum and the Mona, Michel Nedjar has been the subject of nine monographic exhibitions.
Heir to the Russian aristocracy of the 19th century, this renowned biologist fell into madness at the height of his scientific career. Interned in Germany, he threw himself body and soul into the creation of thousands of pages covered in gouache, charcoal or watercolour; thus opening, like a window in his cell, an escape into an infinite universe, a metaphysical escape. His fantastic works, when they are not abstract, are populated with ghostly characters: hybrid monsters, multicoloured insects, characters with disproportionate eyes, or small beings with the appearance of mutants.
His work, which captivated Daniel Cordier and Jean Dubuffet, is represented in important collections across the world, and thanks to a gift by Cordier, is in the permanent collection of the Paris Pompidou Center.
José Manuel Egea
Convinced of his magical ability to become a wolf, this young artist from Madrid is fascinated by the Kafkaesque metamorphosis found in the world of comics and mythology. As polymorphic as he is, his work consists of drawings, sculptures and performances, and urges us to accept our own repressed gifts for shape-shifting. Promoted by the gallery since 2016, he had a major show that same year by the Biennale de l’image possible in Liège, Belgium. His work is now part of several major European collections of contemporary art such as those of Antoine de Galbert, or Laurent Dumas.
Jorge Alberto Cadi
In the streets of Havana, everyone knows Jorge Alberto Cadi as « El Buzo » - the diver - because he’s constantly searching material for his works in the city’s abandoned objects. Boltanskian by his memorial use of photography, Warholian by his taste for stitching images together, Cadi always seeks to reveal what these photographs are hiding. Exhibited for the very first time in 2019 by the gallery, then in 2022 at Paris Photo, he was presented the same year in the 2nd part of Photo brut which, after the Rencontres de la photographie d’Arles, was hosted at the Centrale and the Botanique, in Brussels. His work is included in the collections of the Musée national d’Art moderne (Pompidou). In 2023, it was exhibited by Sophie Calle at the Musée Picasso.
At a very young age, Tomasz Machciński built an identity around an autograph, addressed to him by an actress he believed to be his mother. From this confusion, which lasted more than twenty years, a protean and personal mythology was born that reconstructs the artist. As the image of the Ovidian myth, or Gregor Samsa, Tomasz Machciński cannot be described. Indeed, his work consists of multiple self-portraits of as many different physiognomies. Exhibited in 2019 at the Rencontres de la Photographie, his works are already part of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and the Museum of Photography in Krakow (Poland). In 2023, he is exhibited at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève in Chrysalides: le rêve du papillon.
Text : Nancy Huston
Catalog published to mark the exhibition monster, curator : Nancy Huston, from September 11 to October 10, 2021 at the bridge by christian berst.