Until the 4th of September, the Museum of Modern Art in Paris is hosting the retrospective exhibition of contemporary French painter Marc Desgrandchamps. The monograph show is centered round illustrating his work as a whole, and includes various unfinished paintings belonging to private collections. The aim is to create a show which compiles all the work which has helped Desgrandchamps come to be considered as one of the key players in the resurgence of painting in France.
The exhibition is organized round forty large-scale paintings, along with a variety of work on paper, a mix of drawings, collages and lithographs. It is an interesting way of being able to trace the evolution of the artist, and his search for an individual artistic path which is separate from the trends and demands of the global art market.
Marc Desgrandchamps lives and works in Lyon, and studied in both in Aix-en-Provence and Paris. His first exhibition was the Georges Pompidou Centre in 1987, which was during a time when the critics and the public were more geared towards conceptual art, and painting had been pushed to one side, as though the less attractive, intelligent sister of contemporary art. In spite of this, Desgrandchamps´ own brand of the form and the strong identity of his work has made him into a key exponent of contemporary painting.
From his beginnings, right up to the present, the artist´s style has undergone many changes. His brushstroke has strayed from classical painting, with its clearly marked lines, towards a kind of painting of subtle and ethereal lines which play with the concept of superimposition and the translucent, creating a dream-like impression and the viewer is drawn into a kind of synthesis of memory.
Desgrandchamps´ mastery with colour, which appears to take on a fluid quality in his works, places him alongside the styles of the modernists, such as those made on paper by Max Beckmann. Though with the years, he has added new concepts to his work, it has retained its own unique, and personal style. His series of beaches and women, towels flying, bodies merging in a riot of painting, as though in movement, or captured on camera, are reminiscent in many ways of surrealism.
It is at this point where Desgrandchamps perhaps is at his most contemporary, because the works take on an enigmatic quality, as though pieces of cinematography, or audiovisual movement. His works and themes are based on cinematic sequences, photographs, music and literature – a whole scope of different types of images.
Very rarely is the gallery-going public able to see for themselves the process of transformation, and growth of an artist – it is something only gained from seeing the body of work as a whole, which is why this retrospective of Desgrandchamps´ work is so interesting; not only do we see his work but we are guided through the history of modern art and all of its vicissitudes.
For more information http://mam.paris.fr/fr/expositions/marc-desgrandchamps
If you were thinking of passing through some European cities this summer, why not relax in some rented apartments in Paris and go down to the Modern Museum of Art to see this interesting exhibition – but art is not the only pleasure to be had; make sure you explore some of the city´s restaurants and cafes to complete the trip.