Following the success of the exhibition Before Time Began, Fondation Opale is now taking on a fresh challenge with a show designed to juxtapose contemporary Aboriginal art with the most prominent examples of contemporary art created in a Western and sometimes Oriental context. The works that will be put on display belong to two separate collections, both of which are outstanding in their own right and contain stunning works: the collection of Aboriginal art belongs to Bérengère Primat and the contemporary art collection was amassed by Garance Primat. Perceived with the eyes and affecting the mood, the fruitful interaction resonates across the various works as they play off each other, their different backgrounds being no obstacle to their powerful effect. The links that come to be formed suggest an underlying unity: the Heavens and the Earth meet, certainly, but so do human beings, and not only amongst each other; they also merge with the Earth and the whole cosmos. An infinite circularity creating unity. This is the central theme of Resonances, the book accompanying the exhibition of the same title, which lends visual form to the intuition of Gulumbu Yunupingu, a Yolngu artist from Arnhem Land (Northern Territory, Australia):
“. . . I looked at the universe, I looked at the place called Earth, all the people and all the stars, and I said to myself: we’re exactly like the stars. Huddled together, all close to one another. Indeed, we are as one, just like the stars. There are so many of us living on the Earth. The land, the sea, and the sky are all one continuum. It’s all one and the same thing . . . ”
Through the over eighty works by over fifty-four artists selected and discussed in the book, Jean-Hubert Martin, Georges Petitjean, Hervé Mikaeloff, and Ingrid Pux put the spotlight on the stardust and the clods of earth of which we are all made, and for which the artworks are the spokesmen.
The Aboriginal artists represented include: Rover Thomas, Gulumbu Yunupingu, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Judy Watson, Sally Gabori, Emily Kame Kngwarrey, Paddy Bedford, Nonggirrnga Marawili, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, and John Mawurndjul. The artists working in the Western and Oriental traditions include: Jean Dubuffet, Kiki Smith, Anselm Kiefer, Sol Lewitt, Yayoi Kusama, Giuseppe Penone, and Anish Kapoor.
Jean-Hubert Martin is an art historian of international standing. He is remembered for his significant contribution to the Francis Picabia exhibition at the Grand Palais (1976) and for the innovations he has introduced in the field of museum studies from the 1980s. A particular highpoint, especially in view of the present publication, was the Magiciens de la Terreexhibition (1989), which he organized at the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Grand Halle de la Villette, which was part of his growing interest in so-called primitive art. In more recent years, he has worked as a freelance exhibition organizer and for institutions that have an important role in the field of art-history.
Georges Petitjean is an art historian whose PhD thesis concerned the art found in the deserts of western Australia. His main research interest lies in tracing the path Aboriginal art has taken from its origins right up to the world of international contemporary art. He was the curator of the Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art in Utrecht from 2005 to 2017. Since 2017 he has been the curator of the Collection Bérengère Primat, one of the foremost collections of Aboriginal art in the world.
Hervé Mikaeloff is a freelance art consultant and exhibition organizer. One of his most prestigious clients is Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, with which he has collaborated since it was founded. In 2011 he was made Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettresby the French minister of culture. Between 2010 and 2014 he helped organize the first exhibition of contemporary art from Azerbaijan, which travelled to all the major capitals of Europe, and in 2013 he curated the Azerbaijan pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Since 2018 he has been the curator of Garance Primat’s Collection Dragonfly and in that year he co-organizedthe Poussières d’étoiles exhibition at Le Domains des Etangs-Massignac, where he also co-curated the La Lumière de Mondes exhibition (2019).
Ingrid Pux is an international freelance exhibition organizer. She was in charge of the Louis Vuitton Space in Tokyo in 2011, developing its cultural program and organizing its first exhibition with Xavier Veilhan. She has collaborated with Hervé Mikaeloff as head of exhibitions since 2012 and was particularly closely involved in Miss Dior, an exhibition held at the Grand Palais in Paris, later travelling to Shanghai and Beijing. She also co-organizedthe Poussières d’étoiles and La Lumière de Mondes exhibitions at Domaine des Etangs-Massignac. Since 2019 she has worked in her capacity as a freelance exhibition organizer, helping visual artists display their work in Parisian galleries, with the aim of presenting their art in unexpected settings.