For their first exhibition in their new not-yet-totally-renovated gallery, Victoire de Pourtalès and Hélène Nguyen Ban are showing a good measure of courage ! After negotiating for a long time the lease of Yvon Lambert’s former gallery at 108 rue Vieille du Temple, the young women chose an artist from Cameroun, Pascale Marthine Tayou (yes a man with a girl’s name) to invade the space and use every little corner of the back rooms with his multidiscipline work. Gri-gri means a good luck item and there is no lack of sense of humor in this show. The result is spectacular, fun and unpretentious.
The ambiance in the gallery is young with a couple of well-to-do smiling and helpful assistants, who seem to already enjoy working in this playful environment. A huge baobab, a « Tree of Life », 2015 with crystal masks, a few very impressive multicolor chalk frescoes, and a series of dolls made of crystal and mixed media, tempted me.
This self taught artist, born in 1966, who studied law until he found his calling, first exhibited at Palais de Tokyo in 2002. He is part of Jean Pigozzi’s collection of African art. « Sacred Calabashes » and a video installation, remind us of Africa as do the baobab and the multiple gri-gri. There is a very special atmosphere in this exhibition, a strong sense of freedom and the feeling that the visitor can make his own show out of it. (VnH gallery, until June 20th)
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