Press release - museum Beelden aan Zee

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Press release
The Hague, May 2014
Grandeur – French sculpture from Laurens to the present day
Museum Beelden aan Zee / Lange Voorhout, The Hague
Museum Beelden aan Zee: 6 June to 26 October 2014 / Lange Voorhout and satellite
locations 6 June to 31 August 2014
This year again, The Hague is the podium for a large-scale art manifestation at
Museum Beelden aan Zee Museum and on the Lange Voorhout. Following the
successful country themes of China, South Africa and Russia, this year it is the turn of
France.
Museum Beelden aan Zee will exhibit a retrospective of the work of French sculptor
Henri Laurens (1885-1954) entitled The great curve. Together with Arp, Brancusi,
Lipchitz and Zadkine, Laurens is considered among the most important Parisian
sculptors of the twentieth century. He was a pioneer who started as a cubist in close
friendship with Georges Braque. Later he developed his famous curve; countless
variations of the female body (with the fairylike mermaid as a favourite theme) through
which Laurens gave expression to his love of the sea. Beelden aan Zee is proud to
present this retrospective in its monumental building on the coast of Scheveningen.
Contemporary sculpture from France by young, upcoming sculptors will be displayed
on the Lange Voorhout this summer. These artists belong to the ‘new French art’
generation, an internationally oriented group of artists who concentrate on simple but
topical subjects such as everyday life, consumerism and man’s relationship with
nature. The artists were selected for their capacity to produce monumental work which
is suitable for the Lange Voorhout in The Hague.
Henri Laurens – The great curve
At the age of about seventeen, Laurens set up in Montmartre in Paris, among workers,
artists, anarchists and intellectuals. His cubist sculpture flourished here. He was the sculptor
alongside the two painters Picasso and Braque. He made reliefs in stone with cubist subjects
such as a glass, a newspaper, a glass and an apple. Laurens’ style changed in the 1920’s
from rigid cubism to rounder shapes. The subjects changed as well. He became interested in
the female body. At the time, Laurens lived on the coast in the south of France. The nature
and the sea there brought forth natural themes such as water, earth and night in monumental
sculptures.
Laurens enjoyed great appreciation during his lifetime in Paris. He remained relatively
unknown in the rest of Europe, while fellow sculptors such as Ossip Zadkine, Constantin
Brancusi and Jean Arp caused a furore. He was a key figure in the Parisian artist life.
Picasso admired him, he was a friend of Braque’s, and Modigliani painted his portrait. His
work appeared at the major international exhibitions of modern sculpture through into the
sixties. In 1962 he had a solo exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the city
of Rotterdam purchased a monumental sculpture for the public space. The retrospective in
Museum Beelden aan Zee contains more than 50 sculptures, the largest of which is on loan
from the Centre Pompidou in Paris, which administers Laurens’ estate.
Grandeur on the Lange Voorhout in The Hague
The exhibition of monumental sculptures on the Lange Voorhout in the centre of The Hague
is a spectacular event every year. This year again Museum Beelden aan Zee is organizing a
large exhibition, of contemporary sculpture from France. Top-class contemporary French
sculpture will be displayed on the Lange Voorhout and at the satellite locations. There is
work by Adel Abdessemed, Cyrille André, Lilian Bourgeat, Guillaume Castel, Yuhsin U
Chang, Stéphanie Cherpin, Daniel Firman, Vincent Ganivet, Emmanuelle Lainé, Laurent le
Deunff, Vincent Mauger, Vincent Olinet, Bruno Peinado, Julien Prévieux, Marie-Hélène
Richard and Samuel Yal. Nicolas Alquin can be seen in the Atrium of the town hall of The
Hague, while the gargantuan rubber boots of Lilian Bourgeat are very appropriate in the
garden of the Raadhuis in Wassenaar. Niki de Saint Phalle can be seen at the Crowne Plaza
Hotel in The Hague. Baptiste Debombourg’s work will be displayed in the Kloosterkerk.
Bruno Peinado and Daniel Firman each also have a solo presentation in Museum Beelden
aan Zee.
The artists work in widely varying materials and styles. Adel Abdessemed’s sculpture is cast
bronze with a very topical theme: it is the famous head butt of Zinedine Zidane against Marco
Materazzi during the final of the World Cup in 2006. Other eye-catchers include the relief by
Baptiste Debombourg: at first glance it looks like an engraving, but closer examination
reveals that it consists of staples. Bruno Peinado’s fairytale sculpture, a full moon, will
illuminate the Lange Voorhout at night. Peinado has also made a special vehicle: a car with a
rowboat on it, and on top of that a Trojan horse. Marie-Hélène Richard and Yuhsin U Chang
created works especially for the Lange Voorhout. Richard presents a hanging sculpture
between the trees, made from reeds. Chang will transform the lime trees on the Lange
Voorhout into fluffy pillars wrapped up in raw wool. This location is perfect for her work.
Chang often uses fragile natural materials such as wool, ash or earth in her work. They
merge together with nature into a new organism.
_______________________________________________________________
Note for the editor: For more information and visual material: Information & PR, Emma van Proosdij,
+31 (0)70 358 9076 / +31 (0)6 144 76 327 of [email protected]
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