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Tursic & Mille’s “Tenderness” at the Consortium, Dijon

Again, the Consortium Museum in Dijon, a long-standing surprise location for high-class contemporary art, presents four new exhibitions. One of them is by the artist duo Ida Tursic & Wilfried Mille, alumni of the local School of Arts.

Prepare yourself for a wild ride.

Keeping in mind more academically-refined interpretations of these works I have to admit that first and foremost I found these works extremely funny. In fact, I could hardly keep myself from giggling when walking through the the gallery. The underlying humour which lends energy to these paintings is remarkable. Tursic & Mille’s attitude reminds me a lot of what was done by Martin Kippenberger in the 1980’s, but with a much higher level of easy-going virtuosity. You’ll find 1950’s advertisement clichés in pastel and neon colours and 1960’s family pictures confronted with free gestural painting and absurd additions to the scene. Dollar bills in abundance are added to a 1950’s card playing group of three, blue artist paint is smeared on plates from tubes and devoured by a couple (and occurs as a disturbing element in other scenes). Elderly women in apron dresses face a pack of crocodiles drawn in a childlike manner.

(from museum website consortium.fr)

One highlight for me was a tryptich showing a sunset painted in mock-expressive manner and topped by beer bottles of a well-known Dutch brand (“Melancolic Sunset”, on the right in the photo above). The climax of the show is without doubt the room where large paintings dedicated to cheese varieties (“La peinture Camembert”, “Abstract Painting with Roquefort”) are confronted with wood cutouts of social-media-style dog puppies (on wheels!!).

Puppies galore! (from museum website consortium.fr)

There is a lot of disrespectful virtuosity and a caustic wit in this show which propels almost effortlessly its attack on expectations of what art should show and how this should happen. This makes it extremely worthwhile to visit and makes curious of what the artists might come up with next.

These artists poke fun at the way art is presented and perceived, and the conventions usually associated with it. So doesn’t it represents another layer of irony when this art is presented with dry gravity using contemporary gallery speak (see link above)? Anyway, I just took the freedom to find it hilarious. By the way, there is an interesting interview with the artists where they use the occasion to explain their work with their own words.

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