20th Century Masters from France expo – forthcoming event
For art lovers and those with a fine taste an exhibition – 20th Century Masters: the human figure – is being jointly held between South Africa and France at the Standard Bank Art Gallery from 13-15 September The exhibition includes works by some of France’s most acclaimed modernists, as well as more contemporary French artists and a few other giants of the international art world who have connections with France.
20th Century Masters: the human figure is the flagship exhibition of “The France-South Africa Seasons 2012 & 2013”, a collaborative project involving the French and South African governments and numerous French and South African corporate sponsors. The project is aimed at celebrating and strengthening ties between France and South Africa and at improving mutual understanding between the two countries.
The exhibition follows on from other landmark exhibitions in South Africa organised by Standard Bank in partnership with the French embassy, the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) and leading French cultural institutions. These include The Light of Origins (2000), a Marc Chagall retrospective; The Magical Universe of Joan Miró (2002), and the acclaimed Picasso and Africa (2006).
20th Century Masters: the human figure comprises a selection of approximately 40 works from the collections of France’s leading provincial cultural institutions. Curated by Sylvie Ramond, director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, the exhibition includes works by some of France’s most acclaimed modernists, as well as more contemporary French artists and a few other giants of the international art world who have connections with France.
The exhibition offers a fascinating survey of various ways in which mainly French artists have depicted the human body over the last 100 years through painting, printmaking, film and photography. Some of these artists, such as Fernand Leger, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Félix Vallotton, Victor Brauner and Wilfredo Lam, are renowned pioneers of early modernism. They are acclaimed for their contribution towards freeing the artist from the traditional responsibility to depict the human body naturalistically by adopting a subjective approach to reality and a new focus on innovation and personalised expression.
The exhibition also showcases works by 19th-century greats such as Gustav Courbet, Jean-Francois Millet and Edouard Manet, and artists associated with Impressionism including Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas and August Renoir. 20th Century Masters: the human figure also features leading artists from the contemporary cultural milieu. One of these is Annette Messager, an installation artist who represented France at the 2005 Venice Biennale, where she won a prize, and who deals with issues of femininity, prejudice, social mores, birth and death. Another is Jan Fabre, the Belgian artist who makes drawings, installations films and performances, and who works with unconventional materials to test the limits of social taboo.
The exhibition, which presents a unique opportunity to view iconic works never before seen in South Africa, is complemented by a comprehensive book which includes contributions by both French and South African art historians and critics. The book casts a fresh light on the diversity and vitality of French art of the 20th century and depictions of the human form.
The Standard Bank Gallery is an exciting exhibition space situated in Newtiwn, Johannesburg. Since it opened in 1990, it has become one of the city’s foremost fine art venues.