The Nouveau Musée National de Monaco entrusts German artist Thomas Demand with a role of guest curator for the opening exhibition of Villa Paloma.
Monaco! Surrealism! Nature? There’s not much nature to be seen, even though the whole country of Monaco sits on a rough rock riddled by caves that were inhabited by homini grimaldi even before anyone painted animals on the walls in Lascaux. There are traffic islands, well-tended hydrocultures, and small parks, but there is nothing here that could cater to my inborn Teutonic yearning for the wild. However, there is a lifestyle that would have appealed to the Surrealists (and, in fact, did): fabulous botanical gardens, which provided the basis for the image for the show’s invitation card, and, next to the Villa Paloma, an almost vacant anthropological museum that gave us the showcase for Chris Garofalo’s porcelain models. So, I thought to myself, if there is any talk of nature here, it has to be of domesticated nature – that is, potted plants, gardens, theme parks and models of wild growth. Transformations, every kind of presentation, interpretation and, finally, symbolic representation.
The concept of the exhibition refers to Magritte’s short-lived magazine, “La Carte d’après nature”*. From 1952 on, and for only fourteen issues, he encompasses poetry,illustrations, short stories and other contributions, and sends them out as postcards.In a similar way, the artist Thomas Demand has selected artworks for the exhibitionwhich are interconnected in a poetic, associative and elegant manner from artistswho all have their lines of thinking about Nature and her representations.Two ideas dictated the combination of the works by the selected artists: forms of atamed nature and the abrupt dialect of Surrealism fashioned by Magritte, which subsequentlybecame a source of inspiration. Just as Magritte himself always relatedworks to virulent ideas of diverse origins, works of a wider generational span havebeen included in Demand’s selection which includes amongst others Kudjoe Affutu,Saâdane Afif, Becky Beasley, Martin Boyce, Tacita Dean, Thomas Demand, ChrisGarofalo, Luigi Ghirri, Rodney Graham, Henrik Håkansson, Anne Holtrop,August Kotzsch, René Magritte, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Jan and Joël Martel and Ger VanElk.
* “La Carte d’après Nature”, based on an original concept by René Magritte (1952) ©Charly Herscovici – Bruxelles.
This exhibition is organized with the support of the René Magritte Foundation – Brussels.
Curator: Thomas Demand
Associate Curator: Cristiano Raimondi