OPENING WEEK FROM NOVEMBER 5-10, 2019 EXHIBITION THROUGH DECEMBER 8TH, 2019
SHOW Gallery and the French Consulate in Los Angeles are pleased to present Sète-Los Angeles, an international festival of visual and performing arts, bringing together 28 artists from Sète in the South of France and Los Angeles. These artists were invited to join an artistic dialogue, creating works in diverse mediums including visual art, music, literature, performance, and film.
In September 2019, the city of Sète hosted the LA-based artists for a collective month-long series of exhibitions and events. The LA portion of the festival will take place in 8 venues in Hollywood and West Hollywood, between November 5th and 10th. The exhibitions will continue through December 8th.
The two cities embody creativity and a quest for freedom tied together. In the words of the critic Greil Marcus: a “secret history,” a counter-culture made up of aesthetic affinities, friendships and mutual influences, experimental performances, obscure punk bands, Z series, murals, and Lucha libre.
This history starts with French filmmaker Agnès Varda, who spent her teenage years in Sète during WWII. She shot her first movie, The Pointe Courte, here in 1955 which was hailed as the feature film that established the French New Wave. “Sète-Los Angeles really took shape when Agnès suggested that we meet some of the artists in her film,” says curator Yann Perreau. “We went on a search for these murals that can be found all over the city, essential works that, until recently, were ignored by the establishment.” In March of this year, Agnès passed away. LA-based artist Barbara Carrasco (whose work was featured in Agnès’ 1981 documentary entitled Mural Murals) painted a mural in Agnès’ honor at the Pointe Courte this past September. Barbara will reproduce the same mural at Spaulding Square for Sète-Los Angeles.
In the last fifty years of French contemporary art, Sète is an exception. While Paris and its School of Fine Arts banished painting, color, and expressionism, relegating figuration to the oblivion of history and brandishing the concept as an absolute, the small rebellious city invented “free figuration.” A similar attitude characterized the birth of the Angelino art scene. While New York was dominated by Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, and then Minimalism, Los Angeles was free from all these currents and ventured towards new territories, claiming the supremacy of matter over idea, and know-how over abstraction.