just closed

To commemorate its 30th anniversary, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain presents two exceptional projects.

Les Habitants
An idea by Guillermo Kuitca
Featuring Tarsila Do Amaral, Francis Bacon, Vija Celmins, Guillermo Kuitca, David Lynch, Artavazd Pelechian, Patti Smith

Everyday at 6:30 pm, visitors with an admission ticket can attend a free guided tour of the exhibitions.
Subject to availability.

The Argentinean painter Guillermo Kuitca presents an installation that illustrates the history of the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain and its unique way of establishing relationships between artists and artworks, inciting encounters of many kinds, and making connections from one project to the next over the years. Occupying the entire lower level of the Fondation Cartier, this work is entitled Inhabitants, borrowing from the film of the same name by Armenian filmmaker Artavazd Pelechian. Through this work created especially for the occasion, Guillermo Kuitca plunges visitors into a pictorial and sound environment, building an intricate network between his own art and that of David Lynch, Vija Celmins, Patti Smith and Artavazd Pelechian.

The idea for Inhabitants came from David Lynch’s life-sized recreation of a living room, inspired by one of his own small drawings. For Guillermo Kuitca, whose work is filled with references to theatrical interiors, seeing David Lynch’s 2007 exhibition The Air is on Fire at the Fondation Cartier, where the living room was shown for the first time, was an important experience that struck a profound chord. Guillermo Kuitca further explores this encounter by inviting visitors to rediscover a concert given by Lynch and Patti Smith at the Fondation Cartier on October 28, 2011 as part of the Mathematics, A Beautiful Elsewhere exhibition. For Guillermo Kuitca, this event embodied the concept of reinterpretation that underlies his entire project, and he incorporated the concert’s sound recording into his installation. During this unique performance of music and poetry that brought the two artists together on stage for the first time, Patti Smith adapted a text written by Lynch that told the story of an antelope who wanders through a city and observes its people. The phrase "I saw an antelope" returns again and again, like a litany. It provides an echo to Artavazd Pelechian’s film Inhabitants, an ode to nature that depicts images of animals frantically trying to escape from an invisible threat.

Painted in infinite shades of black, white and gray, American artist Vija Celmins’ starry skies converse with paintings by David Lynch.

Guillermo Kuitca’s installation Inhabitants constantly plays on viewers’ sensations and creates optical illusions. It also invites visitors to reflect upon his oeuvre as a whole, characterized by references to maps and the intersection between places and things, as well as allusions to physical, mental and emotional territories in which the human figure is conspicuously absent. Inhabitants is inspired by the same spirit. Stimulating dialogue and making surprising multilayered connections between the works, artists and ideas presented, Inhabitants also reflects the unique manner in which the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain has operated for 30 years.

Visual: Guillermo Kuitca, Preparatory sketch for the exhibition Les Habitants, 2014 © Guillermo Kuitca


Tarsila do Amaral
Capivari, 1886 – São Paulo, 1973 (Brazil)
Trained in the arts of sculpture, drawing and painting in São Paulo, Tarsila do Amaral moved to Paris in 1916.
She concluded her apprenticeship with three figureheads of French modernism – Fernand Léger, André Lhote
and Albert Gleizes – and built friendships with numerous artists of the Parisian scene, such as the poet Blaise Cendrars. Back in Brazil in 1922, she and her friends, the poets and artists Anita Malfatti, Oswald de Andrade, Mário Andrade and Menotti del Picchia, participated in the Semana de Arte Moderna and formed the group named “The Five.” Their objective was to integrate European modernist heritage whilst revealing the singularity of the Brazilian cultural and artistic identity – an enthusiasm expressed by
Oswald de Andrade in 1928 in his Cannibal Manifesto. That same year, Tarsila do Amaral’s painting Urutu could also have served as a manifesto through image. Icon of the cannibalist movement thanks to its extraordinary swallowing capacities, the cobra faces an egg, symbol of birth and revival. Tarsila do Amaral’s first solo exhibition took place in Paris in 1926 and in Brazil in 1929. She participated in the São Paulo
Biennales of 1951, 1953, and 1963, and in the Venice Biennale of 1964. In 1960, a retrospective of her work was held in the Museum of Modern Art in São Paulo.

Francis Bacon
Dublin (Ireland), 1909 – Madrid (Spain), 1992.
Francis Bacon began painting in the early 1930s. His early work was influenced by Surrealism, but he later developed an idiosyncratic style that would mark the entire history of 20thcentury painting. Solitary or in pairs, immobile or in movement, the human figure is at the center of his art.
His subjects are sometimes borrowed from the history of painting, such as the Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X or the self-portraits based on Van Gogh’s On the Road to Tarascon. He was inspired by cinematic techniques – he particularly admired Eisenstein’s film, The Battleship Potemkin – and often “cut” his paintings up into sequences to create polyptychs. As a painter of human suffering, Bacon
sought to portray the throbbing, quivering, living existenceof the flesh.

Vija Celmins
Born in 1938 in Riga (Latvia). Lives in New York (USA).
Vija Celmins and her family moved to the United States in 1948. She started painting in the early 1960s, depicting objects from everyday life such as dishes, food or household appliances in a hyperrealist style. Working with photographs as a source for her paintings, Vija Celmins explores the power of representation. Since the 1970s her work has taken on a quieter, more meditative quality. Starry nights, deserts, oceans and spider webs have become her favorite subjects, rendered meticulously and in serial form. The Fondation Cartier held a solo exhibition for Vija Celmins in 1995 and has two of her major works in its collection. The painting entitled Night Sky # 11 (1995) is made with extreme refinement and extraordinary attention to detail, drawing the viewer into boundless contemplation. To Fix the Image in Memory XIII (1977-1982) is a two-part sculpture composed of a real stone placed beside an exact replica made of cast and painted bronze that mystifies the mind with the perfect illusion of reality. More than a representation of nature, the artist
investigates the nature of representation.

David Lynch
Born in 1946 in Missoula, Montana.
Lives in Los Angeles (USA). David Lynch is a respected filmmaker and has directed several critically acclaimed feature-length films, including Wild at Heart, which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1990. He was the youngest filmmaker to be awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement in Venice in 2006. Trained in fine arts at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Lynch also has a prolific artistic practice including photography, sculpture, painting, printing, drawing and experimental video. The Air is on fire was the first large-scale solo exhibition of his artwork. It took place at the Fondation Cartier in 2007, and exposed fans and art lovers alike to his relatively unknown artistic creations. It also marked the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship that continues today. The Fondation Cartier has since acquired several of his works for its collection, including the lifesized recreation of a drawing of a living room that inspired Guillermo Kuitca’s project, The Inhabitants. In 2011, David Lynch was one of the central artists participating in the Fondation Cartier exhibition Mathematics, A Beautiful Elsewhere, for which he collaborated with mathematician Misha Gromov and Patti Smith. He was given his first major American museum show in 2014 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.

Artavazd Pelechian
Born in 1938 in Leninakan (Gyumri, Armenia).
Lives in Moscow (Russia).
Considered by Jean-Luc Godard to be “the greatest filmmaker in the world,” Artavazd Pelechian has produced a unique and remarkable oeuvre. Although his career dates back to the 1960s, he remained unknown in the Occident for a long time for political reasons during the Soviet era. He uses an editing technique that he calls “distance montage” which has since become his trademark. Pelechian’s films have been screened at the Fondation Cartier in conjunction with the exhibitions Un art populaire (2001) and Unknown Quantity (2002). In Our Century (1982), which is now part of the collection of the Fondation Cartier, archival footage from the space race is interspersed with images from the early days of aviation to create a long meditation upon
the conquest of space. The film’s poetic force and the tension generated by a sense of impending and inevitable disaster are also found in The Inhabitants (1970), which lies at the heart of Kuitca’s project and gives it its title.

Patti Smith
Born in 1946 in Chicago, Illinois. Lives in New York (USA).
Patti Smith moved to New York in 1967, where she met Robert Mapplethorpe. In 1969, the pair moved into the Chelsea Hotel and befriended such artists and writers as Sam Shepard, Brice Marden, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs. Absorbing herself in performance and poetry, she was inspired to create a fusion of improvisation, politics and rock ’n’ roll. During the 1980s and 1990s, and in parallel to her musical creations, Patti Smith carried on her artistic activities, mixing drawing, photography and writing. In 2008, Patti Smith presented Land 250 at the Fondation Cartier: an important solo show bringing together polaroids, drawings and films, and revealing her spiritual and poetic artistic identity. In 2005, Patti Smith was awarded the Insignes de Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Republic. In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Her autobiography Just Kids received the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2010. In 2011, she participated in the Mathematics, A Beautiful Elsewhere exhibition. For the Vivid Memories exhibition, organized for the 30th anniversary of the Fondation Cartier, Patti Smith gave a series of performances, including a tribute to filmmaker Artavazd Pelechian and his film The Inhabitants on July 10, 2014.


  • View of the exhibition The Inhabitants, 2014.

  • View of the exhibitionThe Inhabitants, 2014.

  • View of the exhibition The inhabitants, 2014.

  • View of the exhibition The Inhabitants, 2014.

  • David Lynch in the exhibition The Inhabitants, 2014

  • Patti Smith in the exhibition The Inhabitants, 2014.

  • Guillermo Kuitca in the exhibition The Inhabitants, 2014.

  • View of the exhibitionThe Inhabitants, 2014.

Open mobile menu
Close mobile menu