Engramme - Abdelkader Benchamma (at 30 rue Beaubourg)
Through the recurring medium of black and white murals, chosen for their simplicity and graphic power, the artist has developed a language which causes viewers to doubt their perception of reality, immersing them in unstable and dynamic universes. Inspired by literature, astrophysics, philosophy and esotericism, his work redefines classical drawing by incorporating it into installations, sculptures and murals. For this exhibition, he examined neurophysiological research on the engram, a biological trace of memories in the brain. The artist created an installation for the gallery combining immersive murals and drawings, multiplying the number of layers which serve to challenge our interpretation of images and their survival. From the celestial to terrestrial, mental recollections to the materiality of marble, Abdelkader Benchamma conjures apparitions, symbols, forbidden representations and unconscious visions in an exploration of two questions: how is humanity programmed to understand images? What is belief in today’s world? In the center of the space, the diptych Book of Miracles exemplifies the artist’s research on figurative representation and the prohibitions of images in the arts of Islam. The artist was inspired by an image of religious propaganda circulating on the Internet. On it, deformed trees seem to proclaim «There is only one god». The Engramme mural spreads throughout the gallery space and interacts with the drawings displayed on its surface. It galvanises the entire space, both with its intangible flows and marks and by anchoring the drawings’ substance in place, bedding in the lines and subjects. The piece creates a sort of moving archaeology which roots the celestial manifestations and gives us an accelerated view of drawn-out geological periods, past eventsthat still have an impact to this day.
Tahiti - Kehinde Wiley (at 28 rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare)
Kehinde Wiley, star of the American art scene and Barack Obama’s official portrait artist, is back in Paris. For his first Parisian exhibition since the 2016 show at Petit Palais, he will be unveiling a new series of paintings and a video-installation based on his time spent this past year in Tahiti. Wiley’s new works are focused on Tahiti’s Māhū community, the traditional Polynesian classification of people of a third gender, between male and female. The Māhū were highly respected within their society until they were banned by Catholic and Protestant missionaries. Wiley’s portraits of beautiful, transgender Tahitian women reference and confront Paul Gauguin’s celebrated works, which also feature subjects from the transgender community, but are fraught with historical undertones of colonialism and sexual objectification. Building off of Wiley’s earlier portraits that addressed issues of masculine identity and virility, these new portraits explore issues of identity through the lens of transformation, exploring both artifice and artificiality as a trans-cultural phenomenon.
Over the past fifteen years, Wiley has developed a remarkable body of work that at once questions and participates in the western art-historical canon of portraiture. Wiley’s encounter with Tahiti joins with the artist's continued journey across the contemporary world, following his explorations of North America, South Asia, and West Africa. Wiley’s focus on Tahiti now offers the opportunity to re-examine France, its colonial history, and its image through the prism of Gauguin’s work. True to his oeuvre, this exhibition presents a uniquely political and aesthetic perspective on the power of art to shift perception and to make visible history’s forgotten figures.
Daniel Templon was only 21 when he founded the gallery in 1966. The gallery opened rue Bonaparte in Saint Germain des Prés. In 1972, the gallery was the first to move in Le Marais area close to the Pompidou Center, which opened in 1977. Daniel Templon was one of the pioneers of the contemporary art in Paris and started by exhibiting many conceptual and minimal artists such as Donald Judd, Art&Language, Dan Flavin, Frank Stella, etc. Many artists, now part of art history, have been represented by the gallery: Andre, Basquiat, Boltanski, Buren, César, Clemente, Immendorff, Flavin, Kelly, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, Schnabel, Stella, Warhol among many others. Today, the exhibition program encourages a dialogue between established artists (Anthony Caro, Jim Dine, Robert Motherwell, Georges Mathieu, George Segal, Claude Viallat), and the experiences of younger artists (Omar Ba, Jonathan Meese, Prune Nourry, Chiharu Shiota, Kehinde Wiley…). The gallery has two spaces in Paris, one in Brussels.