Space for Wild Thought
The 2012 Paris Triennale
||"A bizarre cross between an agricultural fair and the FIAC"—this was the criticism leveled at the last run of the Paris Triennale. This time around, however, the fair will prove to be radically different: renowned curator Okwui Enwezor is artistic director, which should set a new tone altogether. The former showcase of the young French scene has transformed into a discursive, international forum. This year’s motto is Intense Proximity. The fair probes the ways in which artists react to the challenges of a multi-cultural society. Enwezor, who is also on Deutsche Bank’s Global Art Advisory Council, would like LaTriennale to "create a space of intellectual generosity." The prelude to the show, Rirkrit Tiravanija’s project Soup/No Soup, already expressed this intention; on April 7, the Thai artist and his team cooked for visitors to the Grand Palais, turning the exhibition house into a place for communication and exchange. The heart of the Triennale, though, is in the recently renovated Palais de Tokyo. External locations can be found at the Louvre and the experimental project space Bétonsalon.
Point of departure for the show are texts and photographs the ethnologist and "wild thinker" Claude Lévi-Strauss made during his expeditions through Mali and Brazil. For Enwezor, through her "role as an ethnographer of her surroundings," today’s artist reflects on multicultural societies, much in the way Yto Barrada, Deutsche Bank's "Artist of the Year" 2011, investigates the political and social realities in her native city of Tangiers. Or "Artist of the Year" 2010 Wangechi Mutu, a New York-based Kenyan who addresses questions of black female identity in the field of tension between western consumerist culture and African diaspora. Along with established artists like Lothar Baumgarten, Michael Buthe, Ellen Gallagher, and Chris Ofili, all of whom have works in the Deutsche Bank Collection, Enwezor has invited several interesting newcomers, including the Romanian multi-media artist Mihut Boscu, Konrad Smolenski, who was awarded the Views Prize for Young Polish Art in 2011, and the Indian artist duo Desire Machine Collective, whose video works are currently on show in the exhibition Being Singular Plural, a project of the "Deutsche Bank Series" at the New York Guggenheim Museum. As in the current Whitney Biennial, moving images play a key role at the Palais de Tokyo. On view are films by renowned directors such as Chantal Akerman, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Werner Herzog
, whose unique works are increasingly being discussed in an art context. In order to spur the discussion process, Enwesor is interested in making the tensions between aesthetic and critical positions visible, between national and ethnic, secular and religious identities. In the French election year, it’s an approach that promises a fascinating Triennale.
La Triennale 2012 – Intense Proximity
4/19 – 8/26/2012
Palais de Tokyo, Paris