View of the exhibition Matej Kren, Histoire de l’art, 1991, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, 1994. Picture © Florian Kleinefenn.

Exhibition overview

This exhibition displays the installation by Matej Kren, Histoire de l’art, alongside the work by Huang Yon Ping, Devons-nous encore construire une grande cathédrale?, which belongs to the Fondation Cartier. Both works explore the meaning of written memory, the freedom of knowledge and expression via printed matter – books or newspapers. By using tables, both works give form to the expression Tabula rasa which regularly appears as an imperative in the history of art and culture.

Artists and contributors of the exhibition:
  • Matej Krén

The exhibition in detail

The installation Histoire de l’art explores the notions of memory and knowledge. Using ten identical tables arranged in a row, the artist puts art history – quite literally – into perspective. Each table is covered with a piece of cloth, part tablecloth, part shroud, spattered with the ink from the books it has erased. A receptacle for the lost meaning of words that have become illegible, the cloth becomes the medium for abstract painting. These art history books, closed and erased, laid on the tables, deny their own function as a vector for knowledge and enter art history as objects in their own right. The fact that they are erased, far from being a negation of art, opens the way for an exploration of its durability and its history.