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'Rapide et Furieux', Group Show Curated by Léo Fourdrinier at Le Port Des Créateurs, Toulon

The group exhibition Rapide et Furieux is an attempt to critique forms of domination through the worlds of tuning, fantasy and club culture. The narrative that is constructed takes as its starting point the hyperactive and virile energy of the American action film series “Fast and Furious”. In the saga, whose themes revolve mainly around cars and family, the protagonists solve their personal problems and save society from chaos by racing their supercars and pushing themselves to the limit. The ultra-development of the characters’ masculinity sets them up as contemporary deities, protective role models despite their dark – but inseparable from their humanity – anti-hero attributes. These shadowy vigilantes, ultimately commonplace, hide behind their incredible loyalty to their peers a deep desire for freedom:

I only live for the 400 metres of a race, I don’t care about anything else… because for those 10 seconds… I am free! [1]

          The exhibition brings together works by artists who replay the stereotypes of mass culture, manipulating the codes of blockbuster film production, video games and the media. By humorously hijacking the symbols erected by consumer society – where a large part of the relationships between people are based on or governed by economic processes – Rapide et Furieux pays homage to the figures that have rocked several generations.

I don’t have any friends, I only have family. [2]

          An unconscious closeness has been created with the celebrities of the 90’s-2000’s, whose instrumentalized private life is made visible by the paparazzi: Gala Kn rr, through painting and textile printing, depicts celebrity icons, TV series characters, social trends and even internet memes with a satirical but benevolent eye. The expression “OK BOOMER”, used to mock the stereotypical attitudes attributed to the baby boomer generation (people born in the West between 1943 and 1965), rubs shoulders with a critical misappropriation of the logo of 20th Century Studios, an American film production company, one of the main majors of the world industry. Yves Scherer’s sculpture Legolas brings to life the eponymous character from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and highlights the phantasmagorical nature of the fictional character and the actor who played him. Legolas captured the hopes and fantasies of a generation of fans, triggering a huge impact on the actor’s career and personal life.

It makes you take off. As if suddenly everything around you disappears. No past, no future, no problems. Only the present moment. [3]

          The quest for intensity is also palpable in the rise and omnipresence of advertising. Present in every moment of our lives, it is difficult to escape. Cruel. The word chosen by Floryan Varennes, plastered in Gothic script – an echo of the medieval world studied by the artist – comes from the Latin crudus “raw, bloody, bleeding” and is used to describe a person, an animal or a concept that inflicts torment, suffering or death. However, the iridescence of the paper counterbalances this belligerent relationship and refers to the more enchanting universe of the 90s, to the queer and fantasy spheres. Nils Bertho’s painting, with its seductive rainbow colours, is a declaration of love to pop culture, its video games, its cartoons, its horrific tales, its marketing. In its cluster of hybrid characters clash and engage in strange rituals, all with humour: a war in a mall.

A road is the best place to think, to remember where you came from, to know where you are going. [4]

        “Rapide et Furieux” is also a gesture, that of the artist who takes hold of his environment, rich in fragments and scraps of an efficient and over-productive economy. Hugo Laporte forges a cup out of broken windscreen glass welded with 3D printing: when performance becomes a trophy, the work bears witness to the risks incurred by the pleasure of pushing the limits. Rudy Dumas (from a family of circus performers, forged by nomadic life) gathers his raw material in industrial wastelands to make a copy of a Lamborghini Aventador. Designed to go beyond the concept of performance, as a reference in the field of supersports and ahead of the cars of the future, the car is a symbol of success and power. By burning it, the artist recalls the history of Salem (Massachusetts), a town famous for the 1692 witch trials that led to the execution of several inhabitants accused of practising witchcraft. The figure of the witch is also central to Margaux Fontaine’s work as a symbol of emancipation. Her raging flight, a vibration of the living, advocates the omnipotence of nature over our contemporary societies. With a frugal gesture, the artist has painted and composed with a variety of plants, handmade chemistries based on rust and recovered fabrics. Against the winds of an urgent need for speed imposed by society, it is in a meditative quest that Margaux Fontaine wisely invokes a return to a natural philosophy.

Run or die, remember? [5]

          Dancing until exhaustion. Trance. Claire Guetta choreographs questions related to the relationship between fantasy and reality. Her video installation House of Crystal merges lithotherapy and ballroom culture – a phenomenon of LGBT subculture in the United States in which people compete for a trophy at events designated as ‘balls’. The performed ritual intends to respond to prevailing anxieties with the power of gems and voguing. In a glittering TV adventure series setting, these dances become festive defences to family, professional and sexual normativity. Subversive, Claire Guetta’s work proposes a magical happy ending free of all adversity.

—  Léo Fourdrinier

1. Fast and Furious (2001); 
2. Fast and Furious 7 (2015); 
3. Fast and Furious – Tokyo Drift (2006); 
4. Fast and Furious 7 (2015); 
5. Fast and Furious 4 (2009)

1.2.22 — 26.2.22

Nils Bertho, Rudy Dumas, Margaux Fontaine, Claire Guetta, Gala Knörr, Hugo Laporte, Yves Scherer, Floryan Varennes

Le Port Des Créateurs

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