May 27 – July 17, 2016: Monnaie de Paris, 11 Quai de Conti, Paris – France

From May 27, Monnaie de Paris will host the exhibition Merci Raymond by Bertrand Lavier. More than an exhibition, these are stories, anecdotes, and presentations that Bertrand Lavier has staged in the 18th century rooms of Monnaie de Paris that create connections and unexpected confrontations with the works of Raymond Hains. This artist, an exponent of New Realism, known in particular for his lacerated posters, tireless mixer of words, is thus revealed by his friend and accomplice Bertrand Lavier. The curator is Chiara Parisi, Director of Cultural Programs of Monnaie de Paris.

The twelve exhibition rooms at Monnaie de Paris play host to masterpieces by these two artists who establish analogies between the words, names and images, all while adding an extra twist. Twelve winks from Bertrand Lavier to present the works of Raymond Hains in a different context; through face to face juxtaposition and dialogues, provoking and playing with his own work, as a conversation between friends – in a light-hearted mood.

With the production of new works and revisiting his emblematic pieces, Bertrand Lavier plays with the visual and verbal connections that can be established between his ‘projects’ and those of Raymond Hains; illuminating his friend’s works while sharing his sense of humour.

From the façade where the exhibition’s title, “Merci Raymond”, is displayed Bertrand Lavier takes possession of the palace on the Seine, at Quai de Conti. This first outside intervention, in huge letters in golden “fluted glass”, declares his intention to bind together past works and contemporary works in the same place. It is a luminous tribute, like a huge medal around the building that hosts it. The installation at Monnaie de Paris joints the spirit of these two close colleagues with a perfect blend of their artistic universes and thoughts in an offbeat tone which juxtaposes Picasso, Matisse, Frank Stella, Giotto… or even Boronali’s donkey.

Bertrand Lavier thus replays the great artistic match between Matisse and Picasso through… Chevrolet and Citroën, or by associating “Palisades de Skis” of Raymond Hains, with works of artists such as Christian Boltanski, Claude Closky, Gérard Gasiorowski, Wassily Kandinsky, Piotr Kowalski, David Ostrowski, Petrushka by Igor Stravinsky, Piotr Uklański…

Following the idea of always reinventing new forms of exhibition, Bertrand Lavier has designed a project at the heart of Monnaie de Paris that is purpose-built to capture eye and mind of visitors.

At the Vedettes du Pont-Neuf, every day a poster by an artist invited, 54 layers for Merci Raymond!

Bertrand Lavier: is an international artist (Châtillon-sur-Seine, 1949). He entered the artistic profession coincidentally after his Horticultural studies in École nationale supérieure du paysage de Versailles. Gallery owners Daniel Templon, Yvon Lambert and Ileana Sonnabend played a major role in his introduction to the emerging conceptual art. Thanks to them, he discovered the artworks of Joseph Kosuth Wolf Vostell and above all Marcel Duchamp. He admires this latter one as much as he respects Enzo Ferrari.
His passion for cars will not only be a part of his life, but will be as well present in his art. He begins with conceptual and ideas-related works of art. Text and language are preponderant elements in his work. By transposing a touristic text (Proposal for the third level of perception, bateaux-mouches) into a visitor’s leaflet during the 7th Paris Biennale, he officially makes his entrance to the art world in 1971.
During his first exhibition at Lara Vincy’s gallery in 1973, Bertrand Lavier meets Raymond Hains. Language and its infinite possibilities will play a significant role in their relationship. For Monnaie de Paris, Bertrand Lavier offers a re-reading of some of his works by connecting them to the logical methods developed by Hains in order to explore reality.
Raymond Hains: (Saint Brieuc, 1926- Paris, 2005) is one of the leading figures and signatory of Nouveau réalisme (new realim), as referred in 1960 by the art critic Pierre Restany and the artist Yves Klein. After studying in the art school in Rennes, he moves to Paris and first shows his photographic experimentations in 1948 at Collette Allendy gallery.
Interested in abstraction, he experiments several methods that enable him to transform reality. His “hypnagogical” photographs belong to a production in which he distorts the status of representation of a picture thanks to a filter made of fluted glasses. Thanks to this adjective of Hypnagogical – in Greek, hupnos (sleep) and agogos (transport) – Hains refers to visual hallucinations that emerge when someone is falling asleep. His interest for cognitive sciences – linguistic and psychoanalysis – can be found in his most recent works that quoted French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. Thanks to correlations that he builds between these fields, he continues his researches about memory and language, concept considered as indicative of hidden connections.
In his work, the world is a part of a system where language, especially via proper nouns and toponyms, links disseminated items. Raymond Hains and New Realism artists reclaim reality without limiting himself to photographs. His ripped street posters, fences and sheet of metal represent a further aspect of his work for which he directly takes elements off the street.