Olivier Zahm

  • Yoon Ya and Paul Devautour

    If Theodor Adorno spoke of art as a “fait brut” (rough fact), the current danger is that it is merely a fait accompli. Art’s mediatization and distribution have engendered a condition in which its legitimacy is confused with success. If for Donald Judd, “The true test of art [was]. . . its credibility as art,” today, cynicism, hopelessness, and vacuity are its likelier modalities.

    Though artists in France during the ’80s redeployed media strategies without playing up kitsch contents as did the American Simulationists, they nevertheless fell victim to the condition fostered by the intercourse of

  • Alain Séchas

    Alain Séchas’ mocking phantasmic imagery may simply be too perverse for our current state of somnolence. One should not look for an ironic critique of post-Modern academicism in his funny, slightly schizophrenic black and white drawings. Neither should the viewer expect a derisive commentary on the absurdity and vulgarity of our times, like those in newspaper comic strips by the likes of Reiser and Claire Bretécher, from which this show borrows its incisive style and black humor. Séchas’ art does not plumb psychological or social depths; rather it skips across the surface, addressing the indecent

  • Patrick Corillon

    At the heart of the recent so-called “fictionalist” tendency, Patrick Corillon, a young Belgian artist, has managed to achieve what is accomplished so perfectly in film: an understanding of the delectable connection between reality and narrative. It is not that Corillon’s work is cinematographic; rather he takes part in a distinctly Belgian tradition of surrealism, which explodes the categories of language and objective reality.

    In Corillon’s work, the often difficult encounter between the realms of literature and reality, which animates so much of contemporary art, arises from a sort of ethnology

  • Sturtevant

    Though Elaine Sturtevant’s work prefigured ’80s-style appropriation (Mike Bidlo, Sherrie Levine, Philip Taaffe et al.), her role has never been fully recognized. Indeed, she remains one of those unclassifiable contemporary figures who seems perpetually out of sync with their moment.

    Picking up and developing an element that was present in her first New York show, Sturtevant devoted her entire recent exhibition to Andy Warhol’s “Flower” paintings. Twenty-five years after her first show in Paris, Sturtevant remains remarkably faithful to her original position. Though her intentions have remained

  • Richard Prince

    Richard Prince’s recent works effect a kind of postcritical involution. Momentarily abandoning the stupefying rhetoric of immediacy that characterized his earlier photographic appropriations, he is now reinscribing his work in the well-lit field of modern paradigms: by referencing the monochrome as he did in his previous “joke” paintings, by reintroducing collage and silk-screen superimpositions, and above all by coating some of his appropriations with a thin layer of white paint that is simultaneously on top of and underneath the imagery.

    The lower portions of these pictures are relegated to

  • Réve FantaisiE

    Rêve, fantaisiE” (Dream, fantasy) was not only the title of this show, but, according to the three organizers (two French artists, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Bernard Joisten, and a young publisher, Elein Fleiss) the agenda of this new Parisian gallery. “Rêve, fantaisiE” resembles a magic bag from which every trick triggers a dreamlike effect post-psychedelic music, a Brazilian butterfly pinned to the wall, the play of shimmering light, furniture in the form of translucent clouds. It was an exhibition in which everything partook of the fluency of dreams—where the familiar was made strange.