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Fifty of Pompidou Center's monumental works in new exhibition at Grimaldi Forum in Monaco
A visitor looks at Frank Stella's "Polombe during the exhibition "XXL", Extra Large, at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco. The exhibition runs from July 13 to September 9, 2012.

MONACO.- The Grimaldi Forum Monaco renews its link with contemporary art. After having celebrated the icon Andy Warhol in 2003, brought together Jean Pigozzi’s African collection in 2005 and extolled New York’s artistic creation in 2006, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco has invited the Pompidou Center to exhibit a selection of its “large format” collection from July 13 to September 9.

The exhibition “Extra Large” is conceived as a voyage through the modern and contemporary collections of the Pompidou Center, focusing on fifty of its most monumental works, some of which are recent acquisitions or have never yet been exhibited in Europe. Goal: to lead the visitor into a head-swimming empathy with the work and enable him or her to discover the great names of 20th century art.

This spectacular journey, sometimes “dizzying”, punctuated by the great names of 20th and 21st century art, sheds a light on the concept of monumentality. It presents the very large format works of Joan Miró, Jean Dubuffet, Matta, Pierre Soulages, Frank Stella, Sam Francis, amd Yan Pei-Ming, but also presents sculptures, installations and environments by Joseph Beuys, Christian Boltanski, Daniel Buren and including Sol LeWitt, Anish Kapoor and Bill Viola: masterpieces of modern and contemporary creation brought together in a deliberately “non-standard” presentation.

This project is the result of close cooperation between the Pompidou Center and the Grimaldi Forum Monaco and is the dreamed of occasion for the Grimaldi Forum Monaco to show to best advantage its Espace Ravel jewel box and its 4000 square meters. And to cap it all, the evocation of this monumental approach to art is taking place in a country labeled as “the second smallest country in the world!” And this is far from being the last of the surprises for the public.

This exhibition encourages a more extensive reading of 20th century art, exploring the grandiose in its many dimensions in order to seize the signification and the implications, both for the creator and the viewer.

Room of drawings, from the sketch to the monumental creation
Gigantism is a fundamental given of stage or décor projects taken on by many artists who wished to extract painting from its setting. By way of modern prologue, a graphic arts room presents a selection of preparatory drawings for monumental projects by Henri Matisse, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Fernand Léger, Marc Chagall, Raoul Dufy as well as Théo Van Doesburg. Before ending up as mural decorations or stage backdrops and curtains, these sketches remind us that monumentality is the fruit of long development, from the original sketch incarnating the idea to the final creation of sometimes gigantic dimensions

“After Monet” the absorbed viewer
Ever since Monet’s Water Lilies, painters have played on the effect of immersion, of physical and mental communion in front of large format art works. To the implication of the artist’s body in the material at the moment of creation succeeds the integration of the viewer plunged into the contemplation of a grandiose show. Absorbed in the heart of a world-work which overflows his field of vision, the viewer takes it in by his movement, in a continual circle of perception and interaction. The experience of the immense formats of paintings by Jean Dubuffet, Sam Francis, Matta, Juan Miro, Joan Mitchell and Franck Stella is prolonged by the discovery of an installation by Giuseppe Penone.

Games of scale, the strangeness of the grandiose
Enlarged, disproportioned, diverted, the representation of beings and objects contains, for many artists, as much of the marvelous as of the disturbing. The play of scale, the passage from small to big, fundamentally modifies the appearance of the subject represented. Traditionally associated to a value of order and of moral edification, the large format works of art of the modern era have developed from the subversion of genres, and incite as much attraction as doubt. This section brings together monumental works by Tony Cragg, Gilbert and Georges, Thomas Schütte, Xavier Veilhan, Franck Scurti, Valérie Belin, Tobias Rehberger

Worthy of the space, the work and its place
Since the sixties, the work of art has ceased to be an image closed upon itself, to pit itself against the place in which it is exhibited. By bringing into question the traditional ways of hanging exhibitions, it uncovers the architectural volumes, unfolds on the surface of walls and along the very ground. The viewer is led into a sensory experience of real space, in all its dimensions. Through often elementary forms, the works of Dan Graham, Donald Judd, Anish Kapoor, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Cildo Meireles, Pierre Soulages, Daniel Buren/Xavier Veilhan and Claude Viallat reflect the great dualities: interior/exterior; empty/full; time/space.

Spectacular images, projection and attraction
At a time of visual over-solicitation, advertising and film provide models of construction of an enlarged image, appropriate to stir the imagination and to win over the support of the viewer. The projection screen and the city poster represent models of this communicational aesthetic, which divert processes such as the close up, freeze frame, fragmentation, dramatizing of music. Mixing up various methods of representation, the works of Barbara Kruger, Andreas Gursky, Jeff Wall, Jacques Monory, Alain Séchas and James Coleman play on images which are as efficient as they are ambiguous.

Monuments to memory
Monumentality conveys through its etymology (from the Latin monumentum, from moneo “to remember”) concepts of recollection and memory. In addition, the size of a work has long been determined in relationship to the importance and the dignity of the subject represented. If modern art has broken with traditional dogmas, it has not however ceased to refer back to existential, political and sacred subjects. By their imposing dimensions and their solemnity, the works presented by Joseph Beuys, Eva Aeppli, Christian Boltanski, Cai Guo-Qiang, Chen Zhen, Yan Pei-Ming and Bill Viola can be read as tributes to a world history in which individual memory and the collective scope come together.

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July 17, 2012

Fifty of Pompidou Center's monumental works in new exhibition at Grimaldi Forum in Monaco

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