The 11 Conti – Monnaie de Paris is delighted to announce the first Parisian retrospective of the major and unclassifiable German artist Thomas Schütte (b. 1954 and living and working in Düsseldorf). A student of Gerhard Richter at the Düsseldorf Kunstakadamie until 1981, the artist is now recognised as one of the principal re-inventors of modern sculpture.
His oeuvre is influenced by minimal and conceptual art as well as classical sculpture and its powerful codes of representation. He has recently enjoyed several major solo exhibitions and European retrospectives of his work including the Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2016), the Beyeler Foundation, Basel (2013) and the Serpentine Gallery, London (2012). He received the Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale in 2005. His works are included in the collections of the greatest museums and are regularly exhibited.
This retrospective is entitled “Three Acts” a translation of Dreiakter, the most historically important oeuvre of the exhibition, dating from 1982 and belonging to the collection of the Centre Pompidou. “The aim of my oeuvres is to introduce a twisted question mark into the world.” The choice of pieces reflects the artist’s disconcertingly scathing analysis of how society is organised and the effect this has on the individual. The exhibition is composed of three thematically organised parts and includes the presentation of several major series including United Enemies, the Aluminium Frau series and Vater Staat as well as many unseen works.
The first act revolves around the representation of the human figure – male and female – which, both on a monumental and miniscule scale, submits itself to every kind of distortion and transformation. The second act allows the visitor to discover the astonishing relationship the artist maintains with death and the wide variety of means used to represent it: death masks, malicious spirits, wilted flowers, funeral urns… The third act presents a series of architectural models that are equally monuments to the grimmer aspects of our civilization such as the One Man House, which acts as both sanctuary and prison, or Ferienhaus für Terroristen (Holiday Home for Terrorists) with its modernist accents. Several of his models have been constructed on a life-sized scale such as Kristall II in the Salon Dupré, a house for meditation into which the visitor may enter.
The artist moves from scale models to life-size architecture, and between miniatures and monumental sculptures. Thomas Schütte’s works take over the public spaces of the Paris Mint and are also exhibited in all the inner courtyards with a selection of masterful and hitherto unseen sculptures accessible to all. The exhibition thus reflects the duality in the artist’s oeuvre; the interior spaces of the Monnaie de Paris echoing those of the exterior.
The exhibition is the fruit of close collaboration with Thomas Schütte himself, who was exceptionally involved in its conception. It is also the result of partnerships with French museums such as the Musée National d’Art Moderne, the Musée de Grenoble, the Carré d’Art in Nimes and Pinault Collection. The exhibition is an extension of the great themes of the artistic programme conceived by the Monnaie de Paris: to exhibit great sculptors from the 20th and 21st centuries and to reflect on craftsmanship and artistic ability on a site whose workshops are still in operation.
Curator: Camille Morineau, Director of Exhibitions and Collections at the Monnaie de Paris. Associate curator: Mathilde de Croix, Exhibition.
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