Cannes summer exhibition explores the influence of the African Primitive Arts on contemporary art in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Either originating from Africa, Asia, Oceania, Far North or the Americas, the Primitive Arts share the singularity of being implemented by the artists who created before their works were qualified of “art”. Yet, they inspired many contemporary artists such as Picasso.
Africa inspires artists
The exhibition “De l’expressivité primitive au regard inspiré” (From primitive expression to inspired look), exclusively and for the first time in Europe, brings together the works of 90 artists from all eras and continents, in a single exhibition. The works are divided between the Villa Domergue, the Centre d’Art de la Malmaison, in connection with the exceptional Arts Premiers collection of the Castre Museum.
De l’expressivité primitive au regard inspiré synthetically explores the influence of this founding African culture on contemporary art in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Three exceptional sites
More than 200 works are housed on the two magnificent museums in the city of Cannes: the sumptuous Villa Domergue, located on the heights of Cannes, where you can admire a nude of Josephine Baker painted by Jean Gabriel Domergue. Among the works on display, the work of Marc Piano and his amazing puzzle of terracotta horns in a square of plexiglass is sure to move you.
The Malmaison Art Center, a beautiful villa enthroned in the center of La Croisette, facing the Mediterranean, showcases 160 African Primitive Arts sculptures from the Jean Ferrero collection. Paintings, assemblages, collages from private collections are gathered on 280 m2, in connection with the exceptional collection of Primitive Arts from La Castre Museum located at the top of the hill of historic Cannes, Le Suquet.
Both enchanting places of the city of Festivals make dialogue with each other African sculptures and a selection of more contemporary works, reflecting forms of primitive art. The exhibited artists have all had a very strong relationship with the tribal art in the fields of painting, sculpture, assemblage, installation and photography.
Dialogue between tribal and contemporary art
During your stroll you can explore the expressive power of the sculptures of Jean Ferrero collection, shown for the first time in Europe. A set of statuettes used during rituals in Africa sit alongside those in terracotta assembled by Arman.
A compression by Cesar evoking an ancient skull, a bronze idol by Moya, Giacometti’s cubic terracotta head, paintings by Combas, a black and white drawing where closed, frozen faces recall Picasso’s African masks or Franta’s bronzes. This Vence artist, painter and sculptor of Czech origin, who has worked on a variety of women naked body, will fascinate you. The artist’s work is nurtured by a dozen trips to Africa and his meeting with the Ma-sai tribes which strongly influenced all his work. His interest particularly focuses on man reduced to a minimum, simply linked with the sky, the earth and essential materials.
Three sites, one Cannes PassExpo
For the first time, the city of Cannes offers visitors a joint ticket, the Cannes PassExpo, allowing them to immerse themselves in an genuine course around this vast topic. This ticket allows you to discover the exceptional collection of primitive art at museum La Castre – partly collected in the nineteenth century by Baron Lycklama – and the summer Art exhibition at the Centre d’Art La Malmaison and the Villa Domergue.
Exhibition “De l’expressivité primitive au regard inspiré”
Centre d’Art de la Malmaison: June 28 to October 26, 2014
Villa Domergue: June 28 to September 28, 2014
La Castre Museum: open daily in summer.
Click on picture to enlarge (Photos courtesy Ville de Cannes)