View of the exhibition Jean-Michel Alberola, L’Effondrement des enseignes lumineuses, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, 1995. Picture © Georges Fessy.

Exhibition overview

In this commission for the Fondation Cartier, Jean Michel Alberola inquires into the place that the image society has left for the art of painting.

Artists and contributors of the exhibition:
  • Jean-Michel Alberola

The exhibition in detail

Though painting forms the mainstay of his art, it is nonetheless paralleled by other practices: sculpture, photography, film, writing. Like his paintings writ large, Alberola’s space at the Fondation Cartier has become a vast relational field articulating discursive fragments: a painting is transferred to the floor in chalk, neon signs are mixed with street scenes under video surveillance, and the early films of the Lumière brothers contrast with sound bites from museums and train stations; among it all are placed the painter’s emblematic objects, an easel, a massive golden nail, and a reliquary wall which has itself become a relic in our museum surroundings.

Through the juxtaposition of these objects, Jean Michel Alberola creates a network of signs calling the essential practice of painting into question, bringing it face to face with the disappearance of partitions and the inexhaustible indiscretions of the image. If the image is always coming and going, painting can only be situated “in the depth of time,” as that which links, that which gathers together. Painting is not slick like images, but profound like human thought. This exhibition seeks to rediscover the critical function that painting has lost. It leads us to the most essential reflections, to the very basis for the creation of all images.