Bertrand Lavier
Expositions, 1976 ­ 2001


The work of this French artist (born in 1949 in Chatillon-sur-Seine, lives in Paris and Burgundy) belongs in many regards to the period of art in exhibition. In 1984 for example he declared: "I make exhibitions: I don't produce images, I don't have a studio".

Active on the art scene since 1970, B. Lavier has in fact essentially formulated and developed his work inside the space and forms of the exhibition. Even if their parts can be dissociated, his numerous exhibitions always take the form statements that are more than solely the contingent sum of their elements and always globally formulate a formal and conceptual situation.

For these reasons, the question of a retrospective perspective on his work involves the re-interpretation (the reactivation) of its successive configurations and systems of display. Hence the project of this retrospective of exhibitions, rather than a re-arranged series of pieces.

Walt Disney Productions 1947-1985 n.5, 1985, cibachrome on
aluminium, 120 x 135 cm, courtesy Galerie Durand-Dessert


Mamco has often interrogated the history of the exhibition form, notably with Marcel Broodthaers, Mel Bochner, Franz Erhard Walther, or else with the John M Armleder, Sylvie Fleury and Olivier Mosset trio. In a similar yet differentiated fashion, we have also considered the retrospective form with for example, Claudio Parmiggiani, Martin Kippenberger or Jim Shaw.

The case of B. Lavier asks different questions and suggest different answers. The re-staging of exhibitions does not impose a literal topographic reconstruction, nor does it requires to bring together all the original pieces. These can also be remade, like the exhibition itself. Indeed, it's in this perspective that the exhibition entitled "5 pièces faciles" (5 easy pieces) (1980) will be reproduced at Mamco with five works from 2001.

Walt Disney Productions1947-1990 n.9, 1990,
cibachrome on aluminium, 200 x 200 cm
Collection Paolo Curti

In the same way, we will not follow chronological order: all the exhibitions re-staged here constitute together a meta-exhibition where synchronic reality prevails over diachronic dimension. Therefore, inside the body of work selected­apart for "Polish" (1976)­it would probably be difficult and rather irrelevant to attempt to create chronological sequences that would "necessarily" separate pieces within the development of the work over time, since B.Lavier has never ceased for the past twenty years to displace and disturb this kind of approach and logic of production. The question of actual dates is one thing, the duration of topicality is yet another. One of the aims of this retrospective is to prove it.

Christian Bernard
director of Mamco, Christian Bernard is the curator of the exhibition

Exhibition : more than 50 works displayed in 14 rooms, from the 4th to the 1st floor of Mamco, actualizing or reactualizing 14 possible exhibitions of Bertrand Lavier.

Two publications will be published for the occasion:

Instantanés ­ artist book presenting pictures which have never been shown

Conversations ­ book with most of the interviews of the artist