Home Magazine Summer Artguide #1: five unmissable French exhibitions

For those who want to live culture and summer at their fullest, here are five exhibitions not to be missed out in France. 



1. “Picasso et la danse” – Library-Musée de l’Opéra (Paris) 

June 19 –September 16, 2018 

This exhibition highlights Picasso’s love for dance. In particular, the exhibition itinerary demonstrates how the passion for dance shaped his artistic approach. Indeed, in the 1910s, he discovered the world of show business and started working on the creation of sets and costumes that would mark the history of ballet. Parade (1917), The Three-Cornered Hat (1919), Pulcinella (1920) and Mercure (1924) are all major landmark works for this art. Picasso's legacy remains alive in the Ballet repertoire of the Paris Opera, which demonstrates how important a role he played in the choreographic landscape of the time. The dynamics of the danced movement thus featured in all of the master’s work, sometimes going so far as to in fact fuel his artistic expression. Picasso has worked in the field of dance for a long time as costume and set designer for the Russian Ballets of Serge Diaghilev in the 1910s-20s. It was his doorway to a new upper-class international set – and one result was that he married the Russian dancer Olga Khokhlova. Picasso's work in ballet was an important part of his biography and he created some powerful stage images.


2. “Légendes urbaines” – Base sous-marine (Bordeaux)

June 21–September 16, 2018 

This exhibition is dedicated to street art lovers but it could also inspire neophytes of this art genre. The event in Bordeaux is one of the greatest of this summer. In occasion of the 3rd Street Art Season organised in Bordeaux, Base sous-marine hosts the exhibition "Légendes urbaines", gathering works by eminent figures in the Street Art environment, such as Banksy, JR, Invader or Ernest Pignon Ernest. Emerging urban artists will also be present: Aerosept, ARDPG, Stéphane Carricondo, Erell, Charles FoussardGrisOne, MadameMonkeyBird, NastiAndrea Ravo Mattoni, Rouge et Romain Froquet. This exhibition is perfectly in line with the new art trends. In present days, art has gradually embellished streets, giving us to see real masterpieces of urban works. Streets are transformed into art objects often full of humorism, with less concern for aestheticism. The exhibition is the perfect occasion to meet 50 artists from the urban art scene, defining a new moment in Art History.


A mural is pictured at 'Dismaland' a theme park-styled art installation by British artist Banksy, at Weston-Super-Mare in southwest England, Britain, August 20, 2015.


3. “Zao Wou-ki, l’espace est silence” – Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris

June 01– January 06, 2019

Zao Wou-ki’s exhibition is one of those rare, delightful events. It is the first time that the French museum of Modern Art presents the Chinese artist. It is a great retrospective presenting 40 works, some of which have never been displayed before. Zao Wou-ki is undoubtedly the most quoted Chined artist. Zao Wou-ki’s universe is made of abstractions and big formats: it is an invitation to voyage and poetry. Wou-Ki means ‘no limits’ in Chinese — a prescient name for an artist who experimented in oil on canvas, ink on paper, lithography, engraving and watercolour, and who embraced different cultural identities without ever being beholden to one. Born in Beijing in 1920, Zao studied under Lin Fengmian at the National Academy of Arts in Hangzhou. In 1948, he went to Paris where he befriended with many important artists and dealers. He developed close relationships with Jean-Paul RiopelleAlberto GiacomettiJoan Miró, Joan Mitchell and Sam Francis, among many others. His first solo exhibition was held at the Galerie Creuze in 1949; he proceeded to exhibit his work at the Galerie de France in Paris and Kootz Gallery in New York throughout the 1950's and 1960's. 


Zao Wou-ki, 07.06.85, oil on canvas, 114 x 195 cm, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Ishibashi Foundation, Tokyo.


4.  “Les couples modernes” – Centre Pompidou (Metz)

April 28 – August 20, 2018

“Les couples modernes” is a projection on 40 artists couples and their intimate and romantic stories, a source of inspiration and even alienation. The exhibition focuses on couples who have left behind them a significant heritage and a process of artistic creation full and witness of their private lives. Curated by Emma Lavigne, Jane Alison, Elia Biezunski and Cloé Pitiot this exihibition looks into creative pair-work and the mechanisms of an artistic companionship: does each approach dissolve into one, are they complementary or do they oppose each other? Here, are explored the creative processes and artistic approaches which interact and evolve within the intimacy of a twosome to give us a broader understanding of Art History and the soul and fringes of its essential movements. Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar, the Delaunay’s, Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, Man Ray and Lee Miller, the Eames’s are some of the around forty artist couples showcased in this important cross-topical exhibition organized by Centre Pompidou-Metz in collaboration with Barbican Centre, London.


Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe.


František Kupka, Disques de Newton (detail), 1912, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Courtesy Adage Paris 208 and Philadelphia Museum of Art.


5. “Kupka : Pionnier de l’abstraction” – Grand Palais (Paris)

March 21 – July 30

The exhibition is an extensive retrospective gathering 300 works of the Czech artist, among which paintings, drawings, engravings, but also photographies, journals, and manuscripts. Such an exhibition paying homage to Kupka hasn’t been organised in France for more than 30 years. Even if he is less well-known than Malevich, Mondrian or Kandinsky, he is one of the pioneers of abstract art. Kupka is one of the great pioneers of abstract art that emerged at the beginning of the 20th Century. But his highly personal work was not only marked by his rejection of conventional representation. It revisits a history of abstract art that has its roots in Viennese symbolism nurtured by a spiritual and philosophical heritage specific to Central Europe. In equally making a foray into scientific and technical breakthroughs that open up new horizons into the unknown, this abstract art stands out as a modern poetry of colours. The exhibition offers an exceptional perspective on the artist, tracing his notable artistic path: from his symbolist masterpieces, the Parisian expressionist portraits, and, above all, his full seizure of power over abstraction at the beginning of the twentieth century.


Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the artworld.


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