From September 3 to November 12, 2006, Nouveaux horizons, a group exhibition with Virginie Barré, Katia Bourdarel, Martin Le Chevallier, Alain Declercq, Brice Dellsperger, Julien Discrit, Laurent Grasso, Clarisse Hahn, Elodie Huet, Patrick Jeannes, Vincent Labaume, Corinne Marchetti, Philippe Meste, Valérie Mréjen, Bruno Peinado, Frank Perrin, Fabien Rigobert, Amandine Sacquin, Bruno Serralongue, curated by Hilde Teerlinck.
Recently the French Ministry of Culture initiated a campaign to promote contemporary art: «made in France». They organized a first triennial exhibition in the Grand Palais, under the title «La Force de l’Art», redefined the AFAA’s (French Association for Artistic Action) mission and baptized it CultureFrance. Last spring the Palais de Tokyo was the scene of another larger event, focusing on artists living and working in Paris.
When CRAC Alsace was invited to join this effort, it was obvious to us that the only interesting contribution we could offer to this large-scale project would be one which offered a very individual point of view. That’s why we decided to produce a show that would not be limited to our premises. Instead we started working on a traveling exhibition, accompanied by a multilingual publication. Using our international network developed in recent years, we initiated a search for possible partners. Two international institutions reacted immediately to our offer: MARCO (Museo de Arte Contemporanea) in Vigo (Spain) and the brand-new arts centre La Centrale Electrique/De Electriciteitscentrale in Brussels.
The work of the artists we invited for the show covers a wide panorama of French contemporary creation. The title «New Horizons» refers to this desire to give the public the chance to discover a broad outlook on the French art scene. The selected artists belong to different generations and—although some share an interest for similar issues—each of them develops them in an individual way.
Fabien Rigobert, Julien Discrit, Laurent Grasso and Martin Le Chevallier may have in common that they are children of a generation dominated by the influence of new media. Their videos and (interactive) installations take the visitor on a voyage through a virtual world. Science meets fiction and they melt together into a kind of third dimension.
The work of four female artists (Katia Bourdarel, Amandine Saquin, Virginie Barré and Corinne Marchetti) transports us to a «Wonderland»: a surreal reconstruction made of girls’ dreams and adolescent imagery mixed with references to comic books and pop art.
Clarisse Hahn and Valérie Mréjen use an almost documentary approach to treat delicate and serious themes like faith and religion. Also, Bruno Serralongue’s work is based on strategies similar to those developed by photojournalists. And Elodie Huet uses video to make a sharp analysis of our everyday existence.
Sex and violence are themes that are omnipresent in society (in reality—war, terrorism—but also on the big screen or on TV). Alain Declercq, Brice Dellsperger and Philippe Meste create works that point out to what extent these issues are treated in the media as something superficial and banal.
Bruno Peinado, Vincent Labaume and Patrick Jeannes are three «outsiders». It is hard to place a label on their work, as each of them has a multifaceted and very individual approach. In a way their creations are quite spontaneous intellectual reactions to given realities.
Frank Perrin, who created the cover image for the catalogue, presents a series of joggers. They are like a metaphor for the modern man: connected by his MP3 player with the surrounding world wherever he may be, or lost and alone in the middle of the big city...
As the director of CRAC Alsace and curator of the show, I would like to thank all the artists, institutions and individuals (especially Inaki Martinez, Pascale Salesse, Fabienne Dumont and the members of my staff) who made this exhibition possible. This project is meant to give an international audience the opportunity to discover the «secret force» of French art and to take lesser-known artists towards «new horizons».
—Hilde Teerlinck, June 2006.