A Brief History of Shaped Modernity expands and develops upon a number of themes explored by the Galerie Mitterrand in the past that went on to determine aspects of what contemporary sculpture has become. This approach was encapsulated in exhibitions such as L’Objet Sculpture in 1990, conceived as an homage to New Realism, with hitherto unseen contributions from the art critic Pierre Restany. Similarly envisioned were La Sculpture et son Dessin in 1991, Objects in 2011, or Movimientos in 2016, which delved into the richness of the kinetic sculpture movement in Latin America.

Looking back over the gallery’s thirty-year history and all that has happened during this extremely eventful and tumultuous slice of history, this exhibition also anticipates what the next thirty years may bring, drawing on the wealth and diversity of sculpture’s evolution under great artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. So imagined, it tells the story not just of the Galerie Mitterrand, but of sculpture itself.

Conceptual art, Minimalist art, Abstract art, Figurative art, New Realism, Pop Art, Kinetic art… this comprehensive list is proof (if proof were needed) of the intensely expressive nature of sculpture and its ability to embody revolution, and evolve: rejecting the past, so as to draw more deeply from it a century later. The twentieth century has seen sculpture progress from the Roman sculpere to the medieval installare; from Rodin to Allan McCollum. And yet, the goal remains the same: sculpting the stone (or the space around it), chipping away at the raw material as much to reveal the artistic vision as the elegance of the form inside.

While it is the sculptor’s hand which creates the form, it is his vision which brings it to life. The unprecedented liberation of creative thought over the last century, with its boasts of freedom and technological growth, has visually, intellectually, and emotionally defied the traditional rules of aesthetic conformity. Its liberators? Dada, Marcel Duchamp, Kazimir Malevich, Dan Flavin, Julio Gonzalez, François Morellet, Sol LeWitt, Bruce Nauman…

At a key moment of reflection regarding the gallery’s use of space, and renewed emphasis upon its founding principles, this exhibition of artists whose work shapes the course of contemporary thought: A Brief History of Shaped Modernity unites those whose presence in the Galerie Mitterrand has helped make it what it is today. This may have lasted for the duration of an exhibition, as with Eduardo Chillida, Louise Nevelson, Robert Morris, Robert Rauschenberg… or a lifetime, as with Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Agustín Cárdenas, Keith Sonnier, Allan McCollum, Tony Oursler or Marta Pan.

Artists : Carl Andre, Carmelo Arden-Quin, Arman, Lynda Benglis, Agustín Cárdenas, César, Lynn Chadwick, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Dan Flavin, Lucio Fontana, Peter Halley, Yves Klein, Jannis Kounellis, Claude Lalanne, François-Xavier Lalanne, Gyula Kosice, Sol LeWitt, Allan McCollum, François Morellet, Robert Morris, Louise Nevelson, Tony Oursler, Marta Pan, Manfred Pernice, Charlotte Posenenske, Richard Pettibone, Vaclav Pozarek, Robert Rauschenberg, Niki de Saint Phalle, Kurt Schwitters, Mark di Suvero, Keith Sonnier, Ettore Sottsass, Jean Tinguely, Franz West.