Salon de Fleurus
ms¹, Więckowskiego 36
opens on 18 March 2016, Friday at 18.00 hrs, admission is free
the exhibition will be on display until 15 May 2016
"Salon de Fleurus" is a work about art and art history, a contemporary reconstruction of Gertrude Stein’s Parisian salon that existed at 27 rue de Fleurus from 1904-34. It is a project that displays and references a story of modern art’s beginnings through one of the first gathering places for burgeoning young artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Stein herself. It was in Stein's salon that paintings by Cézanne, Matisse and Picasso were seen exhibited together for the first time both by her peers and transatlantic art experts who spread the word back home, eventually creating the American narrative of European modern art familiar today.
Through painted reproductions exhibited within this constructed interior, the "Salon de Fleurus" questions where, why and how certain narratives of modern art originated through the salon structure that first canonized them. These copies are perhaps more significant and tell us more about history than the original artworks themselves by weaving fiction into history and leaving space to contemplate and reconsider the past. When one looks at Picasso here, they are viewing Picasso through the lens of Stein.
"Salon de Fleurus" is dedicated to assembling, preserving, and exhibiting memories on early modern art. Its permanent exhibit was located at 41 Spring Street, New York, and was open to the public from 1992–2013. Since then, it continues to appear in cities across the world.
The arrival of the "Salon de Fleurus" at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź is an opportunity to confront various narratives about the beginnings of modern art: Parisian and American accounts and the local history of the museum in Łódź. First and foremost, it encourages us to revisit – through looking at a reconstructed copy of Gertrude Stein’s salon – our own historical account: the story of the “source” contribution of the a.r. group, which established the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź as both a modern museum and a museum of modern art.
The presented versions of acclaimed artworks from Stein’s salon are not simply counterfeits or technical reproductions, but new handmade copies of modern masterpieces (dated 2015). They are thus repetitions, which bend time and introduce us into the world of fiction, which cannot be simply disregarded as not genuine. Copies of paintings and this Salon reconstruction offer an alternative story about modern art, drawing attention to the fact that art criticism and art history are also stories – meticulously spun, woven on the basis of narrative patterns and images. The Salon reminds us that the history of modern art is produced through the use of reproduced images, which enable adequate circulation strategies and contribute to the popularity of modern art. They enhance the uniqueness of the originals through their duplication and dissemination.
Salon in Łódź is accompanied by sound presentation by Michał Libera.
"Salon de Fleurus" is a traveling exhibition organized by Salon de Fleurus and Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. The exhibition and tour are made possible by The Fine Art Dealer Association (FADA), and with the generous support from ICI’s International Forum and the ICI Board of Trustees. This presentation is assembled in collaboration with Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź (curatorial coordination - Łukasz Zaremba, Curator of Research Program; coordination: Beata Bocian, Department of Exhibitions).