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Bonjour Monsieur Boltanski… at Galerie du Jour

Ev_boltanski_ok[1]Text: Rooksana Hossenally

A meeting of twelve minds in one location, the exhibition Bonjour Monsieur Boltanski... imagined by the Galerie du Jour - agnès b, is a dialogue between Christian Boltanski and eleven artists who come together to pay homage to the art world’s biggest name this year.

Christian Boltanski has always been a prominent artist on the French Contemporary Art scene and enjoyed particular success this year already with his ground-breaking oeuvre, Personnes at the 2024 edition of Monumenta at the Grand Palais. The artist has also sold his soul to the devil as part of his endeavor to out-do death. Now the he turns his attention to agnès b.’s galerie, where eleven internationally-acclaimed artists come together in celebration of the famed artist who is to represent France at the upcoming Venice Biennale. Each piece created by the artists is meant to act like a postcard to the artist, “Hello Mr Boltanski…”

The title of the exhibition, Bonjour Monsieur Boltanski..., was conceived by Boltanski in reference to the painting Bonjour Monsieur Courbet! by Gustave Courbet. The painting is also known as La Rencontre (‘the meeting’ in English). In this case the Galerie du Jour welcomes the meeting of eleven artists, Claude Lévêque, Alice Anderson, Roberto Martinez, Tobias Buche, Bojan Sarcevic, Angelika Markul, Jean Baptiste Bruant, Koo Jeong-a, Pierre Reimer, Douglas Gordon and Absalon who have created works that pinpoint certain themes found in Boltanski’s creations.

The theme of Irony is communicated in the title of the exhibition with a backward ‘?’:‘Bonjour Monsieur Boltanski…[backward ‘?’]. This abstract punctuation mark coined as the Point d’Ironie by 19th Century French writer, Alcanter de Brahm, captures the spirit of the exhibition. In 1997, the Point d’Ironie was taken further in a project conceived by Boltanski, agnès b. and Hans-Ulrich Obrist, renowned Swiss curator and art critic, where the Point d’Ironie became the title of a free newspaper-poster designed by one artist per issue and each artist has free rein over how to use the eight pages. There are six issues per year and visitors to the exhibition will find a stand with the April 2024 issue designed by Koo Jeong-A to take away. Christian Boltanski has designed two issues of the Point d’Ironie which form two collage pieces as part of the exhibition.

The Galerie du Jour is accessible through the book shop of the same name on rue Quicampoix.  The exhibition is divided into five main parts. The first work that greets visitors is that of Boltanski’s Point d’Ironie  (issue n°7). The wall is covered in a repeated pattern of four sheets of the issue. The four sheets depict a blurred black and white photo of a dense crowd of smiling and laughing girls from the Hamburgerstrasse School in Berlin. We never find out who the girls were looking at, what made them laugh, or who they were. The unanimous, the anonymous… here Boltanski’s issue of Point d’Ironie is one of smiles with resonances of the themes Memory and Identity. Each girl disappears in the crowd and becomes part of this collective.

The exhibition then moves from this wall to Douglas Gordon’s fallen broken neon Kraputain through to the Point d’Ironie stand in the next room where there are several pieces spread throughout the space from Anderson’s engaging video projection illustrating the complexity of a broken relationship between parent and child, Markul’s light and gauze installation, to a collage of issue n° 26 of Point d’Ironie by Boltanski. A piece that stands out from the rest is Tobias Buche’s sinister boards of black and white images printed on fax paper. The boards resemble those used to pin up photos of missing people after a tragedy. The images are mainly of people past or present, which evoke feelings of uneasiness and desolation. The last part of the exhibition takes the visitors downstairs to the projection room where Claude Levêque’s strange ‘hippy come anarchist’ video explores the relationship between sound, movement and the four elements.

The Bonjour Monsieur Boltanski…[backward ‘?’]’ exhibition is not only a dialogue between the eleven artists and Boltanski, but also an intimate one-to-one discourse between each artist and Christian Boltanski. The visitor stumbles upon these seemingly detached pieces but slowly a murmur of the dialogue becomes audible.

Bonjour Monsieur Boltanski…
Galerie du Jour, agnès b.
From 13th-3rd April
44, rue Quincampoix
75004 Paris
Metro Rambuteau
Open Tue-Sat 12pm-7pm. Free.

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galerie art

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"fabulous knowledge" is a bit too much!! to copy and past a press release or to translate it is not really a "great post" and there is no analyse at all, if the writter would have only say the date and place of the happening it would have been the same, i guess, sorry for being realistic!

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