Over the course of a year, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain team set out to meet with young artists from all over Europe, beyond the borders of the European Union. This ambitious research project brought the team to 29 countries, discovering over 200 artists chosen from a preliminary selection of nearly 1,000 creators. Launched without any preconceived ideas or guiding principles, this search culminated in a deliberately restricted selection of 21 artists from 16 countries, who use painting, sculpture, fashion, design or film as their modes of expression. Born between 1980 and 1994, they came of age after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and together demonstrate the extraordinary dynamism of the continent’s artistic scene. Most of them have studied or live in a country other than where they were born, showing the very real mobility that exists within the European cultural space. For the vast majority, this is their first exhibition in an international institution.
The title of the exhibition was inspired by the various metamorphoses underlying the work of these artists. Their frequently fragmented aesthetics reveal an interest in hybridization, collage, and archaeology. Drawing on legacies, folkloric traditions, and collective memory, they have adopted techniques such as casting, ceramics, and embroidery. Inspired by the past, their works display keen attention to issues of the present. At the center of their work processes are major contemporary preoccupations, metamorphosed: the preservation and recycling of materials, new takes on historical and cultural heritage, and the reexamination of identity constructions. The resulting works, lyrical, refined, or savage, reveal a strong desire to hybridize identities, cultures, and forms of expression. With poetry, fantasy, and humor, this new generation of artists is helping create the face of today’s and tomorrow’s Europe.
On the ground floor, the artists demonstrate an interest in questions of architecture and shared space, both public and private. Their works have been conceived in close relation with the architecture of the building housing them. On the floor below, the artists focus on the human figure and private space. The works present a portrait of humanity with shifting identities, in a world that is itself in transformation. The final room, the exhibition’s climax, features artists proposing a dialogue, either spiritual or more secular, with the nonhuman world, and more specifically, with animal figures.
Curator: Thomas Delamarre assisted by Sidney Gérard
Associate curator: Leanne Sacramone assisted by Sonia Digianantonio
Conservation Assistant: Beatriz Forti and Alix Laraignou
Jeunes Artistes en Europe. Les Métamorphoses