François Curlet at MAC's Grand-Hornu
Crésus & Crusoé, from 25 November 2018 to 10 March 2019
MAC’s Grand Hornu presents François Curlet's first institutional exhibition in Belgium (°1967, lives and
works in Brussels), entitled Cresus & Crusoé. The exhibition is conceived as a retrospective of his practice
and offers a unique opportunity to discover his poetic oeuvre that plays with the cultural, political and economic signs of the world today.
During the group exhibition Les Chantiers du musée in 2000 - that prefigured the official opening of the
Museum of Contemporary Arts in Grand-Hornu - Curlet seized on the visiting cards of the MAC’s team,
whose names he replaced with those of people living near the museum, thereby creating an initial — perhaps ironic — connection between the institution and its social environment. Twenty years later, François Curlet has been invited back to Grand-Hornu, this time to appropriate all the museum’s rooms for his first major monographic exhibition in Belgium.
By means of diversion, forgery and atypical usage, the artist got himself noticed through his humour and
sense of poetry which virulently question the social, political and economic implications of the everyday
objects and ready-made signs produced by our consumer society. He is an heir to the dadaism of Francis
Picabia and the pop art of Claes Oldenburg, but his poetic and astute approach derives from an art of visual aphorisms that opposes the intrusive policy of contemporary communication: advertising, video clips, text messaging, Facebook...
The exhibition, and the catalog that accompanies the exhibition, has been designed as a retrospective of
his practice in three acts, coinciding with the visitor’s progression through the rooms, which correspond to
the three principal phases of his production: his objects, his paintings and films, which are the current focus of his attention. Since the late 1980s, Curlet has developed an oeuvre with sculptural and graphic work centred around the commercial world of goods and brands, which he deconstructs and reconstructs over and over again.
The exhibition opens with an ensemble of industrial logos, the symbols of production and consumption
from the nineties which he, like other artists of his generation such as Franck Scurti (with whom he
exhibited in 1993 at the Center Pompidou), receives from the 'semantic rain' which pours down on us every day.
His paintings are often made from recycled waste, such as the series of sprays on copper entitled Frozen
Feng Shui from 2013. These metal paintings are chic but inexpensive, decorative but formless, and above
all they show the fondness of François Curlet for the oxymoron, a stylistic figure in which, as a strange paradox, two words are combined that contradict each other in their literal sense.
The work Speed Limit refers to the film Harold and Maude from 1971 and was realized by welding a Jaguar
E-Type together with a hearse. The work was presented for the first time at the Palais de Tokyo in 2013, not as a sculpture, but as the subject of the short film by Jonathan Livingston. In the film, the driver, wandering through open countryside, seems lost, even as the situation fluctuates between the pleasure of speed and a potentially fatal accident.
In addition to this first film, there are three new projects on display, all absurd and intrusive: Air Graham, in
which two mimes reproduce a virtual doppelganger of a glass pavilion by Dan Graham, The Yummy Patriot,
which sketches the portrait of a shabby and voracious hussar, and finally L'Agitee, a film produced by MAC’s, in which actress Laurence Bibot plays a contemporary version of the legendary figure of the flute player of Hamelin.
Crésus & Crusoé
25 November 2018 - 10 March 2019
MAC's — Site du Grand-Hornu
Rue Sainte-Louise 82
23 November 2018, 11:00
24 November 2018, 18:00