Galerie Droste

Carte blanche given to Laure Saffroy-Lepesqueur

Laure Saffroy-Lepesqueur - Crédit : Galerie Droste, 2023, Christian Koopmans

Galerie Droste grants carte blanche to Laure Saffroy-Lepesqueur.

Exhibition “ART IS A SERIOUS GAME” from May 16th to June 15th, 2024.

Laure Saffroy-Lepesqueur, originally from Rouen, has been living and working in Paris since her studies at the École du Louvre, from which she graduated in art history and museology in 2018. Specializing in the 19th and early 20th centuries, she has focused her research on the admission of women to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and on the posing session. Today, she is an artist-author, Gallery Manager at Galerie Droste, and an independent exhibition curator. Laure Saffroy-Lepesqueur is also the co-founder, with Jeanne Mathas, of the association “Nous sommes au regret,” which pays contemporary tribute to the Salon des Refusés of 1863.

In this space, the walls have ears – be very careful with what you say – heroes and still-life paintings come to life again, and illusions are made visible.

In other times, around 1483, Sandro Botticelli put the finishing touches on his work “Venus and Mars.” The work, often having been analyzed from the perspective of beauty, spirituality, and absolute grace, reveals itself to be much more complex in contemporary readings (1): by unearthing written, popular, and parodic archives, we discover a burlesque and lewd Botticelli, skillfully and casually mocking certain conventions and turning Mars and Venus into a duo grappling with the vicissitudes of a couple’s life, which has no divine connotations anymore. Without a doubt, he even sleeps and snore. She looks at him, disappointed and disillusioned. The little faunos around them do not fail to grasp the humor of the situation and to mock it. We witness a Botticelli who is amused and delighted. Without abandoning his sensitive and meticulous touch, his brush chuckles and smiles.

It is this canvas that was sent, as an example, to the artists of the exhibition, simply to signify that one canvas could always conceal something else. From there, “Art is a serious game” began to seriously laugh at the clichés that would make art and its history strictly serious, at times it denies creators the joy of creating something funny, light-hearted. The eight contemporary artists invited to participate in this exhibition were inspired and encouraged to reflect on humor and were asked to create a humoristic work as it ties back to art history.

With a pinch of impertinence and the right amount of detachment, the works presented at this exhibition attempt to thwart certain rules and highlight some clichés. With black humor, a yellow laughter, or even a bubblegum pink aesthetic, these artists reflect on the notions of rewriting, irony, trompe-l’œil, language, and taste. They dismantle the rulew which govern the history of art or sometimes dictate the codes of contemporary art.

Despite their differences in tone and style, several things come back and connect these artists: the anti-hero rubs shoulders with various symbols, dogs emerge from their usual constraints, bodies sometimes dismember themselves, the baroque flirts with kitsch, and wordplay is abundant. Everything responds to each other mischievously and knowingly: art where humor can reside, subtly or overtly, is no less beautiful, or no less profound. And in its gentle insolence, keeping it simple lets the profound message come across: love, the theater of life, death, desire, history, childhood and beauty.

Art is a serious game. We discuss beautiful gestures and colors in a sometimes terrible fashion. We become so serious that we forget that art emerges from the most sensitive part of the human mind. However, it happens that artists, who are also human-beings, sometimes laugh; that has never prevented them from being good.

“For laughter is proper to man” (2)

by Laure Saffroy-Lepesqueur