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Jacques Charlier, The Importance of being, MACBA Buenos Aires, les images

100 sexes d’artistes de Jacques Charlier, au museo de Arte contemporaneo à Buenos Aire (Argentine), dans le cadre de l’exposition The Importance of being (curator : Sara Alonso-Gomez). Jusqu’au 12 septembre. Ensuite à Rio de Jainero et Sao Paulo.

Jacques Charlier

Jacques Charlier

Cartoonist since 1969, Jacques Charlier claims for himself a revered tradition: that of the Comedians Salons from the XIX century. In 1973 he drew and published his first “Sexes d’Artistes”, imaginary portraits of the genitals of those artists that marked the Art History in the XX century since Marcel Duchamp. Epitomes of art today, of avant-garde practices approach and of each artist’s distinctive character features, Charlier decided in 2009 to go back to the idea and this time drew 100 artists’ sexes, creating an illustrated art history compendium. The project, censored in the Venice Biennale in 2009 for his eminently playful nature, is exposed in its integrality for the first time.

A propos des 100 Sexes d’artistes :galerie Nadja Vilenne 

Lu dans le Buenos Aires Herald (19.05.2015), sous la plume de Silvia Rotenberg :

(…)The young Cuban curator Sara Alonso Gómez, responsible for the show, explains that at first she tried to find a common denominator in contemporary Belgian art, but, after the first few interviews and studio visits, she realized there was a certain denial of a national identity. This denial, perhaps brought forward by the bilingual and cross-cultural mindset in Belgium, leads to existential questioning. The Importance of Being, in its multiform shape, encompasses some of the best contemporary “Belgian” artists.

One of the more historic works in this exhibition is a film by Marcel Broodthaers, La Pluie – projet pour un texte. Broodthaers (1924-1976) is an artist known to be influenced by Magritte. They even knew one another. Following Ceci n’est pas une pipe, Marcel Broodthaers continues Magritte’s play between words and art, balancing between the cryptic and the poetic. The 1969 work on display is a clear example of this: we see the artist sitting in the rain, trying to write down a poem, which the raindrops wash away. He tries again and again, but in the end he gives up. The ink letters have turned into unreadable shapes. And this process has been filmed and shown as art.

Broodthaers’ genitalia feature among the 100 images of 100 artists of the 20th century represented in the work of Jacques Charlier (1939). This wall-covering piece is shown for the first time in its entirety in this exhibition after it had been censored for the 2009 Venice Biennale for being too pornographic. Yet, more than porn, it should be viewed as a humorous cartoon-like tribute to the 20th century artists Charlier admires, Broodthaers being one of them. His genitalia are represented by an upside down pipe, referring to him having shaken up Magritte’s surrealistic concepts.