The Biggest Painting Show - Ever

25 December 2013

Read about the project via the link below. 

The biggest painting show - ever is a project initiated by artist Fabienne Audéoud. It will involve the contribution of a team of collectors, curators and writers.The idea is to gather around two thousand paintings, choosing on one work per artist from modern and contemporary art, realised between 1900 and now. If painting can appear as a traditional discipline, it is still very much practiced, even amongst artists for whom it is not the privileged medium. On the web, tumblrs, blogs or facebook pages, virtual collectors publish them under numerous compilations, with images they like, photographed, scanned or re-blog from other sites. A new sociological phenomenon is taking place there, thus engaging notions of abundance, size, scale, number, and taste. This aggregate of production and gestures seems to offer a very dense and complex reflection of a society at a specific time.

If the grid of painting as the sole medium of the show can appear restrictive at first, it also seems to bring out how techniques and discourses from other practices and/or art movements seem to interact with it, nourish it and push it toward a constant renewal. Many formal specificities and traditional genres remain patent, referential and meaningful but at the same time, they are stretched to various physical limits, before being sometimes re-claimed, displaced, destroyed or abandoned. Abstraction seems to operate like a virus, a recurrent questioning principle, in particular in terms of good and bad taste, but also with many other issues stretching from humour to horror.

This project aims to displace this phenomenon into a museum context to create an unprecedented event. Its not so much the process that is important here, as its neither a curatorial clever apparatus, nor the will to just show an amazingly long list of artists. The intention is to go through the experience, from which the tumblr gives a foretaste: material, physical, and discursive excess. Its the staging of the performance of swarming interactions between political aesthetic choices, and the thus produced effects. Its an installation, with a strong rhythmical aspect to it, created by the juxtaposition of so many differences and similarities. Its the in-situ staging of a quantitative question turned qualitative.

What are we witnessing through this enormous amount of significant paintings being produced, shown, sold and discussed (or not)? Can it still be about finding out whos best or which are the names at the top of popularity lists? Are we not facing a technological shift, bearing consequences similar to the revolution brought by printing? A cultural disruption as strong as when artists started to sign with their name at the end of the Middle Ages? Gathering two thousand paintings in one big institution might well reveal difficult. Several options are being currently being studied, including the brand new high quality 3D printing systems.

Paintings over the 20 000 square metres of the Palais de Tokyo.

Lots of paintings.
- Several thousand? More?
- We shall see
Canvases of all sizes and shapes. Various techniques.
A journey through vast white and luminous spaces. Then black walls, dim lights and subdued atmospheres.
Expression(ism) - abstraction. Colours, impressions, characters, feelings and affects. Geometrical forms and bad paintings. Some minimal. Lets say the 20th century up to now. The best of what we can afford to borrow. The most.
Accumulation(s). Growth(s). Out-growth(s).
Like a tumblr web site but made real. In front of you. Dimensions and materials. Followers.
Increase. Boost. Popularity, a bomb that is not quite fully defused but nearly.
The exponential power of the web, displaced-replaced.
A virus in a gigantic architecture. Walls.
Not the imaginary museum, a genuine one. In space.
Lets exhibit the stock. Gestures. Flatness. Surface matters. Attitudes have become forms. Today, its the mass that has become form.
Patent quantity. Gathering.
Capitalisation? I dont know. Lets see.
Of course, this is unique and unforeseen. We used to have salons where Courbet could shock. But today, everything has changed. Here and now, its about you. Youre the one signing for him. Participation.