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23/10/2012 | The Wall Street Journal | 08/06/2012 - Making a Diverse Show a Coherent Whole | Por Judy Fayard

WHEN INGENUITY BINDS
Never mind the confusing Franglais title, “Histoires de voir: Show and Tell.” The new exhibit at the Fondation Cartier is a delight. Classification is pretty much in the eye of the beholder for the 400-odd paintings, drawings, sculptures, collages, ceramics and textiles on show.
The extremely diverse works, by 50 artists from every corner of the world, might be described as naïve, or primitive, autodidactic, folk, popular or outsider. Many are untitled and/or undated. What brings them together is the discerning eye of the show’s curator, Fondation Cartier general director Hervé Chandès. What they have in common is ingenuity, a fascination with nature and animals, and a sense of wonder about the world, and they form a surprisingly coherent whole.
They are beautifully displayed, in a presentation created by Italian architect and designer Alessandro Mendini, including freestanding panels with clear explanations and biographical resumés (in French only).
Brazilians are present in force. Antônio de Dedé’s carved wooden animals—elephant, jaguar, tiger— have short stick legs and long log torsos. Guaraní artist Salustiano Portillo’s sculpted wood turtle (2007) has a big, dome-like back atop a tiny smiling head. And Portuguese artist Francisco da Silva’s fantasy frogs, birds and dragons are elaborately patterned in brilliant opaque watercolors.
On a much larger scale, the vividly painted animals and trees of Jangarh Singh Shyam are based on myths and legends of the Gond tribe in India’s Madhya Pradesh, and completely covered with multicolor dots and dashes arranged in graphic patterns of stripes and overlapping fans.
And the Senegalese Mamadou Cissé, who lives in France and works as a night guard, uses felt pens and ink to create intricately detailed, multicolored, skyscraper-filled vistas of imaginary cities.
There are few Europeans onhand, but four large paintings by the Danish Hans Scherfig are showstoppers. A novelist, self-taught artist and political activist who was imprisoned by German occupation forces during World War II, Scherfig, like Le Douanier Rousseau, had never seen real jungles, but those he imagined are stylized and painted in clear, jewel-like colors: a black rhinoceros with a mistrustful eye in a golden savannah against a yellow
sky; a brown tree in an emerald jungle, with tiny birds, monkeys and lizards in its sinuous branches and electric- blue tapirs grazing below.

—Judy Fayard
8 de junho de 2012
The Wall Street Journal




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