Past exhibitions review 2018-2019, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice, France

Since resent years MAMAC is committed in active new readings of art history, anchored in contemporary societal issues; the highlighting of singular figures and the production of new stories. Our relation to Nature and the way artists deal with the ecological challenges is one o the key subjects raised in the program.

Guided tours, workshops, meetings with artists or researchers, storytelling tours, lectures or projections, dance visits, concerts, performances and events, promote the accessibility of contemporary art to the wider audience and transform the museum in a playground for artists from different fields. All year long, the museum team builds a constellation of networks with companies, associations, students, social workers to invent specific programs and ways of reinventing the museum.

Exhibitions in 2018
Auguste-Dormeuil, If I had to do it all again
Born in 1968, Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil has been questioning how images are created since the mid 1990’s, envisioned in their public and political arena. Visibility/invisibility, light/darkness, remembering/forgetting, what we know/what we think we know, evoking without showing, saying without speaking… are all markers for understanding his works, which shape the codes that structure the flow of images. Although the artist’s ini¬tial preoccupations essentially focused on new cartographies, for a number of years, his work has taken a more metaphorical and performative turn. Designed as a constellation of experiences within the MAMAC and in the public area, his exhibition in the contemporary gallery took the form of a series of infra-thin and performances set up during the exhibition’s timeframe, involving the public by means of various participatory approaches.

Cosmogonies, Au Gré des Éléments
Summoning the elements, capturing the invisible ties that bind the components of the universe, understanding the processes of erosion, imprinting, crystallisation, revealing the burn of the sun… Since the early 1960s, whether fantasising about dominating the elements or toying with the creative humility of letting things happen, or somewhere in between, several generations of artists have turned to nature and its manifestations. The approach of these artist-gatherers, who set out to “gather’ the wind, light or pollen, stems from experiments focused on capturing natural phenomena, exploring materials’ various states or meticulously observing ostensibly elusive elements.

Yves Klein’s experiments into capturing the “momentary states of nature”, Land art, and Arte povera fascinated by the “forces at work’ appear to be key moments in this complicity between the artistic world and the natural realm. Bringing this experimentation up to date, the works selected for the exhibition outline an ode to impermanence and the emergence of forms “assisted’ by nature through various generations of artists. They highlight their persistent attraction to natural processes and to capturing them, while echoing the diversity in contemporary debate on environmental issues. Driven by a keen awareness of the fragility of the natural order, the practices implicitly outline a plea for the environment and an appeal to listen to and sense the secret life of the universe.

Michel Blazy, Timeline
Michel Blazy was born under the Riviera landscape, on April 24, 1966, and is today one of the most original French figures of his generation. Through Low Tech effects and experiments, the artist observes and works with the living, using elements from the garden at home to the supermarket. These small evolutionary and ephemeral activities reveal sensitive explorations of microorganisms in perpetual change.

He imagined at the Galerie des Ponchettes an immersive environmental installation like a garden of delights, in which frescoes, ruins and spontaneous vegetation offer literally the experience of the passing of time. The arches of the gallery, covered with Pompeian red like tomato puree, contrasted the blue sky made with agar-agar recalling Giotto’s paintings. In the centre of this mural was a circle of charcoal from which vegetation came to life spontaneously. The matt black of the calcined wood contrasted with the brilliance and freshness of the greenery accentuating the idea of regeneration. An Anrique sculpture covered with aluminum foils, a brick and a hard drive overgrown with spontaneous vegetation, clothes covered with moss complete this chromatic, olfactory and sensory landscape, drawn on the scale of architecture.

Irene Kopelman On-Growing, Intertwined, Knotted, Coiled Landscapes
Born in Cordoba, Argentina, in 1974, Irene Kopelman lives between Argentina and Amsterdam. She explores exceptional ecosystems around the world in search of an understanding of the mechanisms of the living world. Each new biotope constitutes a specific immersion adventure that is both sensitive (feeling the landscape, its scale, its movements); visual (the entanglement and interdependence of elements) and intellectual (discovering with the scientific teams on site the tools for recording and measuring, understanding the life itself of these ecosystems and their role on a large scale).

From his observation phases, series of slender drawings or gouaches, on the edge of abstraction, are then created, whose fragmented motifs evoke so many samples of a landscape. This work “on the motif” and this practice of “post-nature” surveys refer to the explorations of naturalists in the 18th and 19th centuries. Fascinated by the cabinets of curiosity, and the multiple planks of minerals and botanical species born of this period of discovery, the artist questions this era of exploration and construction of knowledge, of identification of natural phenomena and methodological trial and error, while confronting it with contemporary ecological issues.

Often, she deliberately focused on extreme landscapes because of their vastness, their enveloping nature and the relative inability to grasp their globality: deserts, jungles, glaciers, etc. From this immensity, she has each time isolated elements that are a priori modest (lichens, leaves, simple sets of lines during the boat’s voyage in Antarctica, etc.), as if to better restore the universe to its components and movements and highlight the vulnerability of ecosystems. At MAMAC, she presented, for the very first time in France, series created in the tropical forest of Panama in 2014, Project Vertical Landscape, Lianas; a series of drawings on Mangroves created at Bocas del Toro and two large paintings, based on the series of “Banian tree” drawings created especially for the exhibition.

Eighteen drawings from the Crab Pellets series are also presented in the exhibition “Cosmogonies, au gré des éléments” and echoed directly with the contemporary gallery. Her next field of investigation will focus on marine organisms,… The opportunity to draw a new constellation with scientific communities around the world, first and foremost that of the Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche-sur-Mer and Université Côte d’Azur,which, with MAMAC, will accompany the artist in this new exploration.

Inventing Dance: In And Around Judson, New York 1959 – 1970
IN the 1960’s, the Judson Memorial Church (on Washington Square in New York) became a primary center of artistic experimentation and a major performance space for many artists in the downtown New York scene. The performances would interweave visual art, music, poetry, theater, and dance, and indeed expand the very notion of what might be considered a dance. Following from the work of seminal figures for the period such as the choreographers Anna Halprin and Merce Cunningham, artists Claes Oldenburg and Allan Kaprow, and composers John Cage and La Monte Young, many of the Judson dancers first came together in an experimental choreography class taught by composer Robert Dunn.

The exhibition offered a glimpse into the “Judson” which remains, even today, a major influence for contemporary dance and visual art. Through films, archival photographs, and ephemera, it attempts to document the various movements of bodies at the Judson. The question remains: how to exhibit work, much of it improvised and specific to its original performance, six decades later? When Jon Hendricks, activist artist and co-founder of the Guerilla Art Action Group, reopened the Judson Gallery in 1966, it emerged again as a site for radicalism and interdisciplinary collaboration. In 1970, it became a flashpoint in artists’ defense of free speech during opposition to the Vietnam War and the continued development of anti-racist, anti-colonial, feminist, and queer activism in the cultural sphere.

Bernar venet. The conceptual years 1966-1976
In 1966, the young artist Bernar Venet left Nice and moved to New York where he started an artistic revolution introducing mathematics, astrophysics and later many other fields of science and other disciplines into the art realm. In 1970, he forged a reputation as one of the leading lights of conceptual art, a nascent movement that swept across Europe and internationally. The period 1966 to 1976 was a dazzling and prolific time during which Venet’s intuition and methodic vision set him on an unstoppable path to a new generation at once iconoclastic—pushing art beyond the boundaries of its own definition and process of emergence—and profoundly contemporary since it addressed more than any other art form the question of the dematerialization of art and information streams. This period also marked the beginnings of Bernar Venet’s multidisciplinary approach producing performances and conferences after meeting artists with links to the Judson Dance Theater in New York.

The exhibition is extended to the top floor of the MAMAC with a room dedicated to major works of minimal and conceptual art selected from Bernar Venet’s collection, reflecting the intellectual and artistic landscape of this decade and his friendships at that time. For the first time since 1971, this period, of which little is still known about this work, is the subject of a major retrospective. It gathers over 150 artworks and documents, most them being shown for the first time. Parallel to this ten-year exhibition and research the MAC Lyon major show offers a retrospective of the artist’s full body of work: Bernar Venet: 2019 – 1959.

Exhibitions in 2019
Adrien vescovi. Mnemosyne
Invited by MAMAC to take over the Galerie des Ponchettes, Vescovi has created an almost sensual sensory walk through his pictorial experimentation. In response to the gallery’s angular design, paintings suspended at varying heights punctuate the spaces, playing on parallels and perpendiculars, for visitors to walk around and through. The colours, extracted by the artist from warm Roussillon ochres and Moroccan soils and spices, infused canvases that he then exposed to cool light and bad weather in a park in Holland for a few months. For the Ponchettes, he finally assembled those free standing canvas in new compositions, playing on those north-south movements that left their mark on the history of painting.

Adrien Vescovi produces his own colours from plant or mineral decoctions, creating “landscape essences’ that reflect the different geographic locations in which he works By exposing his canvases to the wind, moonshine, sunshine and oxidation phenomena, primitive forms or shades arise, inhabited by the memory of their various states of existence. In the gallery, ropes plaited and dyed by the artist drew wild curves between paintings, intertwining and rising up between the arches like vines snaking across the ground. They subverted the paintings’ lines and planes. Immerse in pots of strange decoctions, they progressively became infused with the material / colours created by Vescovi. Responding to this indoor walk were the paintings on the great arches outside. Facing the sea and subject to sun, wind and rain, for the duration of the exhibition the canvases were charged with the memory of meteors.

Devil in the Flesh, When Op Art Electrifies Cinema
As part of the Nice Biennial of Arts 2019 : “The Cinema Odyssey. La Victorine is 100 years old”. In the early 1960s, kinetic art made its mark in Europe with a double credo: destabilizing perception and making art popular. Trick-of-the-light paintings, motorized lighted reliefs, and dizzying environments changed perception. Nicknamed «Op Art» in 1964, this avant-garde art was met with a momentous popular success, so much so as to know an exceptional hijaking phenomenon. Whereas advertising agents, designers, major brands and the fashion world seized its exhilarating shapes, cinema gave Op Art an unexpected angle. An art of movement and light, it was both a predecessor, able to sublimate its visual plays, and a follower, which endeavored to swallow it up through its desire for modernity. From dramas to thrillers, filmmakers and decorators drew a language and themes out of it, producing a whole range of «re-uses» in scenery and plot.

This exhibition immerses visitors in this passionate story between two arts, punctuated with mockery and misunderstanding, with reciprocal sublimation, with pop or baroque deliveries, as well as collaborations and copycat. With the support of nearly 30 movies, 150 works and documents, it explores the origin and the unspoken aspects of this predatory fascination, and it considers what cinema reveals of its own nature to Op Art. So, it shows the spirit of a decade ruffled by modernity, thirsting for emancipation and haunted by the ghosts of war. This era, full of contradictions, created a completely new aesthetic culminating into the fruitful friction between visual arts and cinema.

Hippolyte Hentgen, The Invisible Bikini
The Invisible Bikini… The title might herald the start of an improbable quest that seems to tap into memories of classic thrillers as well as comic books, both those we used to consume as children. Strewn all around the gallery, the creations by Hippolyte Hentgen rise up like so many clues or snippets of narrative, fuelling the mystery. Oversized hands, legs and feet, disembodied from any figure, seem to have been lifted straight from a cartoon, as if they had fled characters gleefully flattened, stretched and pulverised by Tex Avery. hose melted forms, emancipated from the two-dimensional fate reserved to them by animation and comics have also something reminiscent of pop culture. It’s almost impossible not to think of the soft sculptures by Claes Oldenburg or the vinyl figures produced by his contemporaries Teresa Burga and Kiki Kogelnik when observing this parade of shapeless bodies and trivial objects such as cigarettes and newspapers. This pop reference is reinforced by the inclusion of hangings combining buxom pin-ups and onomatopoeia.

Hippolyte Hentgen toys with this mix of universes never intended to come into contact. In this museum of the imagination, avant-garde creations, comic strips, animation, popular illustration and editorial cartoons mingle, forming a fantastical and jubilant universe completely separate from the hierarchies of genres. This invisible bikini is, of course, a slightly sharp and unrestrained nod to the French Riviera and its languishing bodies and stereotypes; a prelude to a fiction that the visitor is free to compose themselves. But it is also an irreverent, screamingly pop and deliberately mischievous take on the works of so many great names which populate the MAMAC’s collections.

Lars Fredrikson
Born in Sweden, Lars Fredrikson settled in the south of France in 1960. A tireless curious and skilfully inventive artist, he created a unique and sensitive universe developed through poetry, plastic experimentation, Far Eastern philosophy and modern technology. His research was rooted in the Zeitgeist: like Nam June Paik, Fredrikson explored very early on the plastic potential of television—and electronics generally, while his research into invisible structures and randomness appears strikingly close to the work of John Cage. These practices were connected by a single pursuit: to render flows that are usually invisible—be they energy, telluric, sidereal or interior—perceptible.

This retrospective of the artist Lars Fredrikson came about through a collaboration with the NMNM, the New National Museum of Monaco. Here, major hitherto unseen works by the artist and pieces borrowed from important public and private collections have been shown together for the first time. The exhibition opened with the cosmic dimension of “kinetic” works and inox sculptures before segueing into collages and drawings by fax through to sound installations, of which Fredrikson was one of the pioneers. The show shed a light on his affinities with the Maeght Foundation, his multiple collaborations with poets and, not least, his involvement with the Villa Arson where he set up the very first sound studio at an art school in France, thereby influencing several generations of sound artists right up until today. In this way, the exhibition unveiled the current value of the artist’s research and how it still resonates with contemporary practices.

Charlotte pringuey-cessac. Primal sound
Primal Sound is an invitation to a time travel, from the first pieces of evidence of human life in Nice 400 000 years ago, and from the testimony of cut stones left behind by this group, until the experiences led today by the artist Charlotte Pringuey-Cessac to summon the vibrant memory of those past lives. This journey through centuries is based on the idea of a Primal Sound an expression borrowed from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. After he discovered with wonder the potential of the first phonographs, he dreamt about an « amazing thing »: « to put into sounds the countless signatures of creation that last in the skeleton, in the stone, (…), the crack in the wood, the walk of an insect “. The reminiscence of a past world, the intimate dialogue with the witnesses of the past and the magical thought she invests in what seems inert, draw an ode which is sensitive to the memory and the rustling of what is no longer: our origins.

Prehistory, methodology and tools used by archaeology, constitute a basis for her work, a material out of which she develops experiences and tales, allowing herself to wander between science and poetic licence, the print left by history and its contemporary reinvention. Thought as a journey, her exhibition in Nice unfolds from the Prehistory museum of Terra Amata, epicentre of the activity of these first humans, to MAMAC, including la “Colline du Château” where a burial dating from the XIIth and XIIIth centuries filled with funerary remains was discovered in 2013.

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice
The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, also called Mamac, is a museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art open since June 21, 1990in Nice. Located in the heart of the city, next to Place Garibaldi and in the extension of the “Coulée Verte”, MAMAC offers a dive in the International Postwar Art from 1950’s to nowadays. With a collection of nearly 1 400 works by more than 350 artists, (with an average of 200 on display), the museum offers – among others – an original dialogue between the European New Realism and American Pop Art. The museum also displays key works of minimal art and arte povera. Two major artists of the 20th century art form the heart of the collections: Yves Klein, with a permanent room that is unique in the world, made possible thanks to the long-term loans of the Yves Klein Archives, and Niki de Saint Phalle. Prominent Postwar female artist, Niki de Saint Phalle gave a great donation to the museum in 2001. MAMAC thus owns now one of the biggest funds of the artist in the world.

The museum also sheds light on the singularity and prominence of the local art scene from the late 1950’s to the early 1970’s. Nice and the Côte d’Azur were then an important place for experimentation and invention of new artistic gestures with prominent artists such as Yves Klein, Martial Raysse, Arman, Ben and groups such as Supports/Surface. Despite the singularity of personalities and practices, three key issues arise: the act of appropriation of everyday life (with the New Realists in particular), an art of gesture and attitude (with Fluxus) and an analytic exploration of the painting (with Support/Surface and Group 70). This research is put in perspective with the European and American artistic creation of the last sixty years.

The museum buliding located next to Place Garibaldi, designed by architects Yves Bayard and Henri Vidal, it has the shape of a tetrapod arch straddling the Cours du Paillon. The monumentality of the project developed on the cover of the Paillon makes it possible to link the museum to a theater via a terrace, called the Promenade des arts. With its square plan, its architecture is inspired by the rules of neoclassicism. The available surface area is around 4,000 m 2 spread over nine exhibition rooms for three levels. Its smooth facades are covered with white Carrara marble. The entrance and the shop are at the level of the Esplanade Niki de Saint Phalle overlooking the Place Yves Klein where the auditorium and the contemporary gallery of the museum are also located. The museum spaces are dedicated on the first floor to temporary exhibitions, the second and third level house the permanent collections.

The spaces cover five levels, including two sets of 1.200 m2 devoted to the museum’s collections. One floor and a project room are devoted to international temporary shows alternating thematic exhibitions and monographs of major artists of the last sixty years. A roof terrace accessible to the public offers a breathtaking panoramic view on Nice.

Located in the heart of Nice, MAMAC (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) was designed by architects Yves Bayard and Henri Vidal and opened in 1990. A rooftop terrace open to the public offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Nice. Its collection, rich of more than 1300 works from 300 artists, links regional and international artistic history.

The Constitutive Declaration of New Realism, written by the art critic Pierre Restany is signed at Yves Klein’s, in Paris on October 27th 1960. However, it is during the previous decade that the artists have prepared the ground: Hains and Villeglé as early as 1949 “detach” together their firsts “lacerated posters”; Klein makes his firsts Monochromes and Tinguely his firsts animated sculptures…

1960 is a vivid year: Tinguely creates his first self-destroying machine in New York; Klein makes his “Anthropometries” and then the “Cosmogonies”; in Paris, César shows three compressed cars at the Salon de Mai and Arman fills the Iris Clert Gallery with waste, during the show entitled “The Full”, etc.

The common traits to the New Realists are the refusal of abstraction, the awareness of a “modern nature”: the one of the factory and of the city, of the advertisement, and of the massmedia, of the science and of the technique. Anchored in this reality, their process echoes the brilliant analysis of the consumer society and its idols proposed in 1956 by Roland Barthes in his book Mythologies. The group engages the object in a new adventure, using the poetic aspect of the object: detritus, detaching of posters, assemblages, compressions or accumulations of elements coming from an industrial technology.

In 1961 the exhibition titled The Art of Assemblage, at the Museum of Modern Art of New York, consecrates the closeness of the New Realists with the Pop Art artists.

American Pop Art was built on the heritage of British Pop Art which came out of the Independent Group of which Lawrence Alloway was a leading member, and in 1956 he organised the This is tomorrow emblematic exhibition in London. On the American side, the movement broadly emerged through Neo-Dada artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Its core is in New York where artist such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann exhibited their art. Pop artists directly refer to consumer society and the damaging effects related to modern consumerist society. They advocated a return to reality, turning to the world of merchandise and new forms of popular cultures: stars of the cinema, advertising and comics, giving them an iconic and detached dimension, with American society’s values as a backdrop.

MAMAC holds one of the largest collections of Niki de Saint Phalle’s work in the world: over 200 works, allowing them to change the works on display regularly. Niki de Saint Phalle (Neuillysur-Seine, France, 1930 – La Jolla, United States, 2002) made a work of art out of her life. Without any particular artistic education other than her instinct and a sort of certainty that this is her destiny, she devotes herself entirely to her work. Art for her was therapy and her artistic appetite helped her to overcome difficulties, highlight her sufferings and cope when faced with illness. “Champagne, glacier et fleurs”, the title of a letter from 1979 which Niki de Saint Phalle wrote to her artist friend Marina Karella, sums up her personality which was both, strong, sensitive and charismatic. She was a rebel and chose to uses weapons, not to destroy but to create works of art.

The first of these was created in 1961. “Tirs” [shootings], was the series of works with which she gained recognition as an artist and gained, despite severe criticism, notoriety in France and quickly international. She also created original works by placing bags filled with paint on plaster-covered canvases and then shot at the canvases with a rifle. The work is shot at and the result is new creative piece. The artist expressed the rage and violence inside her in an outward gesture; she shot at her father who she was abused by at the age of 11, at her mother, and also at the Church society and all its injustices.

Following her first Tirs exhibitions, the New Realists invited her to join their group, with her being the only female member. When, in 1963, Niki de Saint Phalle made the transition away from Tirs, she began to create sculptures in white plaster, some of which were deathly or disturbing as is the case with the series representing brides, hearts and even women giving birth. Her sculptures were made from cloth and wool over wire frames to which Niki de Saint Phalle often added salvaged objects. The women Niki de Saint Phalle depicted were still enchained by marriage or motherhood, and she was trying to set them free. By 1964, Niki de Saint Phalle embraced the “Nanas” series to again highlight female figures. These sculptures, in bold colours and with generous curves, symbolised the modern woman, liberated from traditions. Nanas are black, yellow and pink, they are multiracial to reflect the world.

The artist dedicated a large part of her life to these monumental projects. Her sculptures turned into real architectural pieces: the Golem slide in Jerusalem in 1972 or Hon, the largest of the Nanas (28 m long), built by Niki in 1966 in Stockholm. She was actively involved in Cyclope (1969-1994) by Jean Tinguely at Millyla-Forêt, near Paris. However, without doubt the Jardin des Tarots, a project in Tuscany which started in 1978, was her most comprehensive work. She self-financed the whole project and it took her more than 20 years to complete. Art may have saved her life, but the air that she breathed in as she created her polyester sculptures was the cause of lung problems which she would suffer from for the rest of her life. A year before her death in 2001, she donated many important works to MAMAC, a gesture which demonstrated her generosity and her commitment to others.

Yves Klein
The monochrome adventure
Explore a gallery, unique in in the world, dedicated to the master of the immaterial. Yves Klein was born in Nice in April 1928; his parents were both painters (Marie Raymond and Fred Klein). In 1946 he met Arman and the poet Claude Pascal in Nice, with whom he would share poetic adventures on the local beaches

He learnt judo with Claude Pascal, (he would become 4th dan), and the two of them would stroll down the Avenue Jean Médecin in bare feet, dressed in white shirts with Klein’s handprints and footprints on them. Klein and Arman were interested in zen philosophy, and it was on the wall of a cellar belonging to Arman’s family where Klein painted his first blue monochromes between 1947-1948. In 1955, in Paris, he met Tinguely, César, Raysse and Restany, and at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, he showed a painting in a single colour, Expression de l’univers de la couleur mine orange [Expression of the Universe of the Colour Lead Orange], (M60), 1955, signed “Yves le Monochrome”, which was rejected and caused quite a stir.

From 1956 onwards, the “Yves : peintures” exhibitions followed: Propositions Monochromes, Gallery Colette Allendy in Paris, Yves Klein: Proposte monocrome epoca blu, in Milan and Pigment pur in 1957, again at the Gallery Allendy, during which he presented the practical applications of the “Blue period”, after establishing an ultramarine blue, which would come to be known as IKB (International Klein Blue). It was in 1958, following the major media event that was the Vide exhibition at the Iris Clert Gallery in Paris, where Klein presented a completely empty gallery; the walls were painted in white by the artist and the gallery window was painted blue. Hosted by his friend Robert Godet, on the Ile Saint-Louis, he orchestrated the first of his “living brushes” experiences, where nude female models were covered in blue paint and imprinted blank paper surfaces fixed to the floor.

The first Anthropometries were shown in public at the Galerie internationale d’Art contemporain in Paris in March 1960, with a performance in which three female nude models covered in blue paint, crawled and moved over the floor which was covered in paper for the occasion; the models also imprinted their bodies on the walls, under the direction of “conductor” Klein, to the sound of the Monotone-Silence Symphony. Klein died in June 1962 in Paris, leaving behind works of great lyrical depth, after having demonstrated the power of emptiness, sculpted water and fire, invented the architecture of air, etc. The evidence of this is in the “Cosmogonies” series, “moment-states of nature”, recording the signs of atmospheric behaviour of canvases travelling on the roof of his car between Paris and Nice, an extension of his Athropometry work.

3rd Floor
Play on words. Play on signs.
An iconic work of the MAMAC, La Cambra or «Ben’s Museum» gives an account of the place of writing in the work of this essential artist. His smooth, untrammelled, almost childish calligraphy takes us back to the winds of change and the art of attitude initiated in the late 1950s in Nice. Around this monumental work, other games with words, writings and languages are on display. On walls, paintings and sheets of paper, glyphs and alphabets are invented, anagrams, dance-poems, tags and crosswords are drawn. This exhibition combines works from the collection as well as loans and presentations by artists of different generations related to the museum’s history. The relationship between the wall and writing is highlighted.

The works engages the body of the viewer, reader, enunciator, or even actor. Some works have a very low profile and require visitors to pay attention, others shout out at them, take them to task, call on their imagination. The central question of deciphering them echoes that of understanding the work and the keys to interpreting it. While words call on the worlds of poetry and childhood, they engage an eminently political relationship with the world, on the place of the artist in our society

American Abstract Art
Minimal art emerged in the United States in the mid-1960s
With Minimalism, art was considered from a totally fresh perspective undergoing a radical transition that eschewed traditional conventions. The most remarkable aspect of this transformation was the new relationship between the spectator and the artwork, which reinvented the aesthetic perception of an object right down to its substance. Artworks monopolised the space, which became an existential space and no longer an aesthetic space. Previously, a piece of art occupied its own territory that was separate from the spectator. Minimal art opened up a new sphere of activity for the artist in which the consciousness of their own body in its relationship with the surrounding space predominated resulting in extra large canvases and the obsoletion of the plinth.

Minimalists explored geometric figures deductible one from the others (squares, rectangles, Discover key works from the second half of the 20th century Yves Klein, Untitled Anthropometry, (ANT 84), 1960, and “Dry pigments” installation. Photo Muriel Anssens The Estate of Yves Klein, Adagp, Paris / MAMAC, Nice, 2019 Niki de Saint Phalle about to shoot Hand-tinted black and white photograph, from the film Daddy, 1972 2016 Niki Charitable Art Foundation, All rights reserved/Photo Peter Whitehead Jean Dupuy, Le Sagittaire, 2007 Oil on canvas, 200 x 200 cm Collection MAMAC, Nice, inv. 2007.6. Gift of the artist Photo Muriel Anssens, Ville de Nice ADAGP, Paris, 2019 Raymond Hains, Seita, 1970 Giant matchbook pouch in melamine and painted wood, canvas emery 98 x 80 x 25 cm Mamac Collection, Nice, inv. 989.9.1. Bought with help of FRAM Photo Muriel Anssens, Ville de Nice – ADAGP, Paris, 2019 triangles and so forth) and on the matters of volume, surface and flatness. Striving for maximum effect through the minimum of resources, these artists removed any trace of subjectivity in their work and often incorporated industrial materials and techniques

Proponents of the movement include: Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Morris, Kenneth Noland, Franck Stella and Richard Serra.

Conceptual art emerged in the 1960s. It asserted the primacy of the idea over the object, to the extent that producing the work was no longer even strictly necessary. It pushed the bounds of the traditional artistic field by questioning the meaning and purpose of artistic practice. In 1969, Sol LeWitt declared: “Ideas can be works of art. They are in a chain of development that may eventually find some form. All ideas need not be made physical.’

The following conceptual artists are featured in this room: Sol LeWitt, Joseph Kosuth, Robert Morris, James Lee Byars and Ed Ruscha.

Albert Chubac
Albert Chubac was born in Geneva in 1925. Following his studies in Decorative Arts and Fine Art in Geneva, his work was influenced by some formative periods: his interest in Klee, Kandinsky, Miró, Matisse and Picasso; meeting Nicolas de Staël in 1950; and his travels in Italy, Spain, Greece, Egypt and Algeria.

Exhibitions created with works from the MAMAC collection and invaluable help of : Yves Klein Archives, Centre national des arts plastiques (Paris), Jean Dupuy, Estate Robert Filliou, Peter Freeman, Inc. (New York/Paris), JeanBaptiste Ganne, Eric Guichard, Arnaud Labelle-Rojoux, La succession Arman, Lilja Art Fund Foundation, Loevenbruck (Paris), Stéphanie Marin, Tania Mouraud, Niki Charitable Art Foundation, Emmanuel Régent , Sharing Art Foundation, Ben Vautier, Bernar Venet and collectors who wished to remain anonymous.

From his very first paintings, which were almost abstract, he used a palette of primary colors, applied in blocks. He then applied this technique to “transformable” wooden sculptures. The idea behind these sculptures was to enable the viewer to switch the elements around. In a later period, he explored the luminescent properties of colored Plexiglas.

In 2004, Albert Chubac donated around a hundred works to the City of Nice for the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. The MAMAC showcased this donation in 2004, thus becoming the point of reference for the artist’s work in France.