Four contemporary artists not to be missed in Paris

► Anri Sala’s spatio-temporal journey to the Commodity Exchange

Spectacular, Time No Longer (2021), the latest film by Albanian Anri Sala presented at the Pinault Collection in Paris, takes us on a cosmic journey that telescopes different eras. Produced in computer-generated images larger than life, it shows us a vinyl turntable spinning in weightlessness inside the deserted International Space Station, itself rotating around the Earth, all presented on a huge curved screen in the rotunda of the Bourse de commerce, in a succession of embedded orbs.

Between disturbing muffled noises, the jolts of the arm of the turntable play extracts from the Quartet for the end of time composed in 1940 at the stalag by Olivier Messiaen, partly for his fellow clarinettist Henri Akoka, mixed with saxophone improvisations played in memory of the astronaut musician Ronald McNair, who dreamed of being the first to record in space and who disappeared in 1986 in the Challenger shuttle explosion.

A scene that is both apocalyptic and elegiac, punctuated by accelerated sunrises and sunsets, in a form of temporal vertigo… At the same time, the artist displayed a series of slightly older works, including three of his remarkable videos playing on sound duets always in touch with the history of the world, its wars and its revolts. A masterfully orchestrated choral device.

Until January 16.

► The haunted forest of Laurent Grasso, at the Collège des Bernardins

Another film presented on a large LED screen, this time in the former sacristy of the Collège des Bernardins: Anima (2022) by Laurent Grasso. The artist shot it in the forest of Mont Sainte-Odile, around the Cyclopean remains of the surrounding wall of the convent founded by the saint in the 7th century. In this place of pilgrimage which polarizes a multitude of beliefs around a source reputed to heal the sight and cosmo-telluric chimneys which would deform the trees, he invited will-o’-the-wisps, a cloud stuck on the ground, a furtive fox, comedians (including Micha Lescot) holding strange dowsing sticks, a flame organ “the pyrophone”…

On a music of sound waves composed by Warren Ellis, this vast haunted landscape is unveiled here, through sometimes superimposed images, sometimes taken with drones, infrared or multispectral cameras, lidar systems, evoking a beyond the visible . A dive into an animist universe that questions the limits of our “naturalist” approach to the world. Too bad that the sculptures and paintings, echoed in the nave, do not have the same poetic intensity.

Until February 18.

►A sandman named Théo Mercier at the Conciergerie

Careful fragile! Outremonde, The Sleeping Chapter, sculpted by Théo Mercier and his teams, under the vaults of the Conciergerie (after two first chapters in Avignon and Zurich), is only composed of sand and water. Chiselled into billions of grains with perfect illusionism, the work offers a dreamlike landscape, populated by empty, abandoned beds, sometimes rolled up or punctured mattresses, similar to those of refugees, the destitute, at the feet of which watch large sleeping dogs, between ruined columns. A post-human world lies there, half collapsed before our eyes, like a sandcastle.

Is this a nightmare or a bad omen? “Sand, linked to dreams and metamorphoses, is also a political materialemphasizes the artist. It is plundered by the countries of the North on the shores of the South to build concrete buildings. Horizontal, natural landscapes are thus destroyed in favor of cultural and vertical landscapes. » Théo Mercier intends to return to their original quarries, in Île-de-France, the aggregates of his exhibition, after its closure. In the meantime, the public is invited to stroll through this disturbing setting, without any distancing. A generous way of making us experience the fragility of this Otherworld, so close to ours. From December 3 to 11, the artist and director will invite performers to this lunar landscape for the evening.

Until January 8.

► The urban archeology of Cyprien Gaillard, at the Palais de Tokyo and at Lafayette Anticipations

In Ocean II Ocean, Cyprien Gaillard filmed a barge submerging, off the coast of New York, old metro cars to serve as reefs. At the same time, he shows the marble-lined walls of the metro stations of kyiv, Moscow or Bucharest, in which imprisoned ammonites seem to welcome, impassive, the lights and noises of trains… Will New York’s wagons form the fossils of the future? ?

Ocean II Oceanalready shown in 2019 at the Venice Biennale, is one of the centerpieces of the artist’s exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo which examines, through some fifteen works, the strange vestiges of our cities: bags filled with padlocks of love, a gargoyle vomiting lead, the flight of “invasive” parakeets between the skyscrapers of Düsseldorf…

In a second part at Lafayette Anticipations, Cyprien Gaillard endeavored to restore The Defender of Time, an automaton clock created by Jacques Monestier for the Beaubourg district, which had fallen into disrepair. A meditation, in two places, on the inevitable rupture of things and beings that are dear to us, on the spiral cycle of time and energy, told in games of subtle echoes.

Until January 8. Info. and

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