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Exhibition of work by Agnès Thurnauer on view at Chateau de Montsoreau
Installation view of A history of painting by Agnès Thurnauer.

MONTSOREAU.- After she had the honor of showing a feminised portrait gallery at the Centre Pompidou for two years, the SAM (Seattle art museum) and the CCBB of Rio de Janeiro, an exhibition of work by Agnès Thurnauer, a Franco-Swiss international artist, is now on display at the Château de Montsoreau—Loire Valley—from June 25 to October 25.

Her multifaceted work makes her an unclassifiable artist in contemporary art, and this exhibition redefines the idea of retrospectives.

At Château de Montsoreau, Agnès Thurnauer tells us her history of painting, a history that she distorts by feminizing or masculinizing the names of western painting's biggest heroes. She introduces in the castle's largest room a portraits gallery—part of the series currently on view at the Pompidou Center—with characters such as Nicole Poussin (comissioned specifically for the exhibition), Annie Warhol, and Roberte Mapplethorpe.

Each one of her "life-size" portraits, as Thurnauer calls them, is an opportunity for the viewer to remember, or to meet, an art work—through the artist name, by underlining the signification and significance of the surname. This new name/surname couple becomes the form of the painting, placing the work outside the notion of gender, to recount another history of art: one in which the creator of the work is not anymore in a woman's or man's role, but in a painting role. A role in which he or she represents this painting that could well have no gender. In other words, at any rate, this history doesn't only belong to men.

To look at the Courbet walker as a casual passer-by with a Cadere stick in his hand, to imagine that Artemisia Gentileschi could paint the Mel Bochner portrait of Eva Hesse, that the painting has been surprised to paint the painting, that the flagrant délit is the "mise en abyme."

One can easily imagine that the painting's characters are alive, that the traveler is suddenly blushing and let the stick fall down, or simply looking at us and gives it to us, as a transmitter, in order to know what is it to hold the painting in our hands.

Curated by Elena Sorokina.

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