The contemporary art of the funfair

The Centquatre is a multidisciplinary place, which invites artists through its residency program to experiment, play, create. The Contemporary Art Fair takes up this principle: a hybrid event that invites the public and artists to approach art differently, in a playful, sometimes regressive, gourmet and always surprising way. Around one of the covered courtyards of the Centquatre, around forty artists unfold in a festive atmosphere and create an artistic amusement park.

Listed in 2017 on the Unesco inventory of French intangible cultural heritage, the funfair brings together outdoor rides, various attractions and candy stands. Fundamentally the opposite of a contemporary art exhibition, the carnival invites us to give free rein to our senses and our emotions. We play at being scared, at blurring our perceptions, we confront the supernatural, and to recover from our emotions, waffles and cotton candy are there to comfort us. In an exhibition, the public and the art keep a polite distance, and if certain works provoke a sensitive feeling, they more often call for a reasoned interpretation.

How then to mix these antagonistic universes? How to infuse the spirit of popular celebration into contemporary art? The Contemporary Art Fair is breaking away from its status as an exhibition and inviting the public to take an active role in art. Better: he is invited to touch, experiment, taste art. With your admission ticket, you are given candy pink tokens which will allow you to enter the attractions, buy a space waffle ofinvade or to have your portrait taken in the designed photo booth of Serge Bloch. All the codes of the funfair are there: the fortune teller, the ghost train, the merry-go-round, the mirrors or even the games of skill, all with a shift thought up by the artists.

On the good adventure side, Veronique Beland proposes to photograph our aura while a mechanical piano will compose thirty seconds of music which transcribe the physiological data of each one. casino games Sylvia Fredriksson, Albertine Meunier and Filipe Vilas-Boas, meanwhile, do not want our money but our personal data to be able to play a game where we win almost nothing. In the same spirit, the ball dispenser Encoreunestp earns us artist likes on a random network, challenging just like the claw machine of Filipe Vilas Boas our relationship to the virtual world.

Several artists play with our perception, such as Julien Vidame and its distorting mirrors, Lilian Bourgeat and its oversized rocking chairs or Leandro Erlich which allows us to defy gravity by a game of mirrors. Other mirrors, those of Julio Le Parc enclose us in a labyrinth where the black and white frame of the piece vibrates in the space reflected by moving mirrors. The room full of balloons Martin Creeda sort of giant ball pool, also blurs our bearings, enclosing exactly half of the air in space in the balls, and us in the middle.

If you want to confront your fears, jump on the fantasy train where the works ofAdel Abdessemed, Luis Buñuel, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Loris Gréaud, La Briche Foraine, Delphine Reist, Virginie Yassef and Peybak highlight the violence, real or imagined, of our societies. If you prefer, you can let yourself be drawn into an existential reflection while climbing the stairs of Yoann Bourgeois, until the final decision. But fear not, you can inflate your ego by measuring yourself against the bull of Pilar Albarracin or screaming at the Banzaiometer of Greenland.

With this non-exhibition of contemporary art, the artistic directors José-Manuel Gonçalvès and Fabrice Bousteau raise the question of our relationship to art. The work is now sacred, placed at a distance on the walls of museums, often asking us to make an intellectual effort to understand it. But doesn’t a manipulable work, which we can apprehend in a sensory way, with which we can create a physical link, still remain a work of art? Should we create a hierarchy between the works, between scholar and popular? Or can we consider that all forms of art are equivalent, all equally necessary, because this very variety makes it possible to touch the equally varied sensitivities of each of us. Let’s face it, a unique art for all would be very sad. So don’t hesitate any longer, let’s play with art!

And to have a good reason to return, the Contemporary Art Fair will expand by 2000 m² in mid-December with a series of universes created around artists and collectors.

Contemporary Art Fair
From September 17, 2022 to January 29, 2023
The Centquatre – Paris

Visuals: 1-Leandro Erlich, Building, 2004, Monumental installation, Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA, Production CENTQUATRE-PARIS, Photo by Quentin Chevrier_Le CENTQUATRE-PARIS_2022 / 2- Delphine Reist, Engine!, 2022. Courtesy of the artist, Galerie Lange + Pult, Laurent Godin Gallery. Photo by Quentin Chevrier_Le CENTQUATRE-PARIS_2022 / 3- INVADER, Space Waffles, 2011-2022. ©Invader-ADAGP. Photo by Quentin Chevrier_Le CENTQUATRE-PARIS_2022 / 4- Filipe Vilas-Boas, Catch Me If You Can’t, 2022, courtesy Filipe Vilas-Boas.Photo by Quentin Chevrier_Le CENTQUATRE-PARIS_2022 / 5- Martin Creed, Work n°262, 2001 , Subtitle Half the air in a Given Space, Collection Frac Occitanie Montpellier©ADAGP, Paris.Photo by Quentin Chevrier__Le CENTQUATRE-PARIS_2022 / 6- Yoann Bourgeois,Face au vide, 2022. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Quentin Chevrier_The CENTQUATRE-PARIS_2022

The contemporary art of the funfair – Toutaculture