Adrift and unmoored in Paris, where the storm of recent images has made it hard to see straight, let alone see art, ArtReview has resolutely steered through the flood nonetheless, and found other things, in Paris and the rest of France, to look at and think about.
The focal points of France’s second annual countrywide graphic arts festival are sure to be: 1) the open invitation Pour Charlie exhibition of Charlie Hebdo-inspired works by cartoonists and graphic artists from around the world at the La Friche Belle de Mai in Marseille (and on the festival’s website); and 2) an overview of the history of underground comics at the Cité International des Arts in Paris, featuring, among others, the trenchant pen of Robert Crumb, who also contributed a 'Je suis Charlie' drawing.
Claire Angelini, Géographie d'une Histoire, Fragments Tirés d'un Grand Sommeil Noir, through 15 February at La Compagnie, Marseille
Focussing on survivors—human beings, memories and images—of the 1962 Algerian War of Independence, French artist, filmmaker and art historian Claire Angelini explores, through installation, film, photography and drawing, the political links between art and history. The exhibition’s core are the antagonistic testimonies of four witnesses of the war, all of whom were 20 years old in 1962.
Revisiting the same terrain as Claire Angelini and through the same mix of media, the Moroccan-born, Berlin-based Bouchra Khalili extends her focus to the period between 1962 and 1972, when, after independence, Algiers became the 'capital of the revolutionaries', hosting members of African, Asian and American liberation movements like the Black Panther Party, the ANC and Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arab Gulf. Using personal and collective accounts of the events, Khalili deftly navigates the complex depths of colonial and post-colonial history, contemporary migrations, their geographies, and the stories and fantasies derived from them.
La Mobilisation Des Esprits: Caricatures Françaises Pendant la Grande Guerre, through 15 February at the Musée de Cambrai
If you haven’t had your fill of violently offensive scatalogical and pornographic cartoons yet—check out these representations of an earlier enemy of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité: the German Hun of 1914 – 1918. The exhibition includes everything from recruitment posters to children’s toys and kitchen utensils, all featuring the bestial mug of the loathed 'boche.'
Alain Fleischer, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Danielle Schirman, Présenter l’irreprésentable, through 22 February, at Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes
What can and cannot be represented? What should and should not be shown? In a former banana warehouse in the art-rich city of Nantes, three French artists tackle death, violence, sex and the thornier artistic issues that hide behind them, namely, responsibility and self-censorship. The influence of the Marquis de Sade is a common thread, conjoining the collective works of two soixante-huitards— Lebel, best known for his anti-fascist happenings and Deleuze/Guattari-fuelled 'insubordinations' and photographer/filmmaker Fleischer (who in the past has taken Jean-Luc Godard to task for his alleged anti-Zionism and anti-semitism)—with the documentary portraiture and photographs of French filmmaker Danielle Schirman.
Online exclusive published 28 January 2015