For a few years now, university and school exchange systems such as the well-known Erasmus program allow young Europeans to meet and interact, in hope of someday giving a more tangible identity to this European people envisioned by our predecessors, a people which we are striving unrelentingly, if awkwardly, to shape.
In the same way these exchanges create an irreplaceable opportunity for real face-to-face encounters, the Jeune Création Européenne’s biennial aims to provide the conditions for a widespread visibility, on a European scale, of the most remarkable works of these new artists, who are repeatedly, year after year, making their first steps onto the art scene, and contributing to modify its conceptual and formal contours.
For this new edition, 9 countries will successively receive these works that are representative of the current art in all its diversity. It will allow a very broad public to discover European art “for real”, the way it is being made today, in real-time…
Traditionally, the artistic director of the Salon de Montrouge designates who – among the exhibitors of the previous editions – will be the artists called to represent the French delegation of this biennial.
The Salon de Montrouge is the main French event devoted to discovering new talents. Every year, several dozen of artists, mostly coming from the dynamic network of art schools, present their work to a vast public of art lovers and professionals. Chosen in 2009 from among more than 1100 candidates, the 82 exhibitors have been accompanied, during the preparation of this 54th Salon, by the members of a College of Criticism coordinated by Gaël Charbau, the editor-in-chief for Particules magazine (some extracts from texts written by members of this College are included in this publication to introduce the works of the artists from the French selection). Also, and for the first time, approximately fifteen students in their last year at the school of la Villa Arson in Nice have been invited by their professor, Arnaud Labelle-Rojoux, guest of honor of this current edition.
A series of substantial modifications made to the planning of the 54th Salon, which took place in Montrouge in the Spring of 2009, has led me to leave the selection process in the hands of the excellent committee called upon for this occasion. This committee, composed of professionals from private and institutional spheres, and presided over by Fabrice Hergott, Director of the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, has chosen the three laureates for the 2009 edition on the very day of the inauguration. These laureates have been invited by Marc-Olivier Wahler to exhibit their work at the Palais de Tokyo for Spring 2010:
Kaori Kinoshita et Alain Della Negra (Grand Prix)
Aurélien Porte (Prix Spécial)
Antoine Dorotte (Prix du Conseil Général)
On this occasion, the committee also selected the seven remaining artists who constitute the European biennial’s French delegation, along with the three laureates:
This selection gives a perfect account of the great diversity of the current artistic creation as it has been shown during this 54th Salon, boldly mixing mediums (painting, sculpture, photography, video…), states of minds and geographical origins… Having already made the most drastic choice with the help of my assistant Sandra Cattini, selecting 82 exhibitors from a pool of 1100 candidates, I could only agree with the decision of a prevailing committee.
This designation process has the virtue of underlining the fundamental importance of the two pillars of any real emergence: a true search for new talents, and the cooptation by the ecumenically gathered artistic scene… Indeed, it is the collective responsibility of contemporary art professionals to guarantee the most dependable and well-informed conditions for a democratic selection of the talents who will eventually renew that scene. Not because of their own magnanimity (although it wouldn’t be harmful), but by pure pragmatism. This process is a long and difficult one. It takes an entire artist’s life. Only the most fiercely determined, the most authentically driven, will be able to identify their own area of inquiry or debate, as the great critique Bernard Lamarche-Vadel would have said. Only these individuals will propel the mad mental and physical energy necessary to the daily practice of art into the next 50 or 60 years… It is best not to make a mistake from the start, then.
I should mention in passing that these artists may have no small impact on the face of 21st-century Europe…