The Contemporary Charm of the Still Life at the Louvre

The Contemporary Charm of the Still Life at the Louvre
#Exhibitions

Artists were the first ones to take things seriously. Recognising the importance of objects, of their place in life and in art, making them alive and interesting, exalting their charm, their forms, meanings, their power. As old as the world, in the Modern era, the artistic depiction of things assumed a name - still life - hardly suited to expressing vivacity. At the Louvre, a large exhibition relaunches this genre, long-considered of less importance, to view it with a contemporary eye and reflect, through art, on our rapport with things. Around 170 works have been reunited to this end from prestigious museums and private collections, moving from painting to video, sculpture, photography and cinema in a dialogue beyond geographical and temporal confines. A monumental installation announces the event under the Pyramid outside the museum - the work Le Pilier des Migrants Disparus by Cameroon artist Bartélémy Toguo. Inside, the theme of the still life takes on an unusual point of view, as well as revelatory, of millennia of history - from the Neolithic axe to the ready-made works of Duchamp, from the wild compositions of Arcimboldo to the paintings of Manet, then onto the still lifes and the vanitas of the 1600s, the Bedroom of Van Gogh, the surrealist collages, the metaphysical painting of De Chirico, the photography of Nan Goldin, the hyper-realist sculptures of Ron Mueck. At the end of the itinerary, we can’t help but concur with the scholar of design Maurizio Vitta in saying, “The soul of things is in the eye of the beholder.” And who paints them. And of who, perhaps even centuries later, observes these still lifes on display at a museum.

Francesca Grego - © 2022 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel Paris