There is no doubt you have already come across him on a street corner, eaten at his side, laughed at his jokes, cried on his shoulder, admired his insights. Perhaps you haven’t even noticed him, although he is always there, an aloof everyday presence, quite simply, anonymous. However, he has never shown you his true nature, you never realised he was wearing a mask, that this neighbour, this friend, this work colleague, this… anybody, could be the Devil in person. But are we not constantly searching for him in others so as not to find him in ourselves?
The L’homme gris exhibition explores non-archetypal representations of the Devil in contemporary art. Far from disappearing, his image has simply mutated, showing again his fascinating ability to adapt which has allowed him to pass through art history – and mankind – unabated. While the way in which he slips away, transforms, infiltrates allows him to claim an all-the-more dangerous, powerful, or liberating position, it offers artists two possible paths to explore. Their choice sways between the empty shell, the costume to don, the pure image, and an elusive and constant metamorphosis.
This exciting alternative evokes, or perhaps, invokes, reflective illusions or the use of anonymity as strategic weapons; reveals the evil internalisation in man, and his unbearable banality; questions the boundaries between the visible and the invisible, disguise and mass; and aspires to rekindle a dark flamboyance. Creation leans, therefore, to span philosophical, economic, political, aesthetic, and moral fields.
This banner casts a shadow: the one in capital letters by C. G. Jung, the one left by the worrying flight of the fallen angel, the one hiding the light and plunging the world into a morose, impassive grey, a shroud; the one, in particular, which Peter Schlemihl sold to ‘the grey man’, and which allows him, the hapless outcast, to understand and admire – a real parable of art – the wonders of this world.
Benjamin Bianciotto holds a doctorate in art history from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. He completed his thesis on the following subject: “Figures of Satan: contemporary art facing its demons, from 1969 to the present day”. The links uniting contemporary art with religion and the occult sciences remain at the center of his concerns and research. He is also an art critic and independent curator.
Alex Bag, Darja Bajagić, Bianca Bondi, Christine Borland, Gast Bouschet, Christoph Büchel, Sarah Charlesworth, Jan Fabre, John Urho Kemp, Ragnar Kjartansson, Julien Langendorff, Élodie Lesourd, Tony Oursler, Andres Serrano, Sindre Foss Skancke, David Tibet, Iris Van Dongen, Gisèle Vienne, Marnie Weber, Jérôme Zonder
Curator: Benjamin Bianciotto
November 14, 2020 - January 31, 2021
Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'art contemporain