With reference to the famous themed cabaret, founded in Montmartre at the end of the 19th century, that deployed its parodic and funereal ambiance by making light of morbid situations with inflammatory irony, the Frac Ile-de-France and the Communauté d’Agglomération Marne et Gondoire present, from March 8 to July 5, at the Château de Rentilly Le Cabaret du Néant, an exhibition created by students following the exhibition related careers course at Beaux-Arts de Paris, and which combines contemporary artists with masterpieces from Beaux-Arts de Paris collection.
The subject ‘remember you will die’ traverses art and literature encompassing tragedy and parody according to changes in society and customs, religious convictions as well as scientific discoveries. Since the famous 15th century danse macabre or dance of death, the subject has continued to engage audiences and creators despite undergoing profound changes. Contemporary with the famous cabaret du néant established in 1892 in boulevard de Clichy (Paris 18th) and which lends its name to the exhibition, the concept of nothingness has an alternative interpretation, another vision of the same chasm, no less dreadful but aesthetically the opposite, that which, in the wake of Mallarmé, led to considering human life as ‘pointless forms of matter (..) launching itself madly into Dream, despite its knowledge that dream has no existence (..) and proclaiming in the face of the Void which is truth, these glorious lies!’ The role of the poet and therefore art would thus entail, according to Mallarmé, to pull, like from the bottom of a shipwreck, man from this ‘Void’ through the ultimate interplay of creation.
The theme of ‘nothingness’ is divided into three parts in the exhibition: - Le festin des inquiétudes (The feast of fears), looking to the past and inspired both by this famous cabaret and by Middle Ages imagery characterised by the fragility of life and occult fantasy. It brings together spectacular works, from Albrecht Dürer and Francisco de Goya to Jean-Michel Alberola, like many Vanitas recalling with mockery and humour the fate of mankind in the face of death. - Anatomie de la consolation (Anatomy of solace), leading us through scientific and anatomical discoveries in the 19th and 20th centuries with works by Gautier d’Agoty, Géricault, etc. Death and nothingness are explored from a perspective that is both more rational and more intangible.
Fin de partie (Endgame), a space that is simultaneously empty and too full, reflecting Samuel Beckett’s play, the ultimate contemplation of nothingness that invokes a form of significant intoxication, like man’s refusal to succumb to the fatality of one’s own existence with works by Marcel Duchamp, Alain Séchas, Hicham Berrada, etc. Exhibition conceived upon the invitation of Xavier Franceschi based on an idea by Jean de Loisy, developed and produced by Simona Dvořáková, César Kaci (resident curators at Beaux-Arts de Paris), Sarah Konté, Yannis Ouaked, Violette Wood, Kenza Zizi (“Exhibition related careers” course students)*, under the guidance of Jean de Loisy and Thierry Leviez in partnership with teams from Frac Île-deFrance and from Parc culturel de Rentilly – Michel Chartier.
The exhibition related careers course is a new vocational course, offered to 3rd year students at Beaux-Arts de Paris, it is conceived in partnership with Palais de Tokyo.