5 Invaluable Artists Leading the Digital Revolution

"Adaptation" photograph series by Ludivigne Large-Bessette, 2017 Salon de Montrouge.

For a budding artist without gallery representation, breaking out into the art world is an uphill battle. Enter the Salon de Montrouge, a Parisian incubator for the brightest new artistic talent.

This week, the 62nd annual Salon de Montrouge (April 27-May 24) opens in the eponymous Parisian suburb of Montrouge, a place where the leading figures of the French art world come together to create a launch pad for the next generation of artists through a unique showcase of young contemporary creativity.

Entryway of the 2017 Salon de Montrouge.

Like a traditional artist salon, this is an opportunity for artists to showcase their work, and receive criticism from the arbiters of the art world as well as the public, in a month-long showcase. This year, the artists have been selected by leading French curator, Ami Barak, President of the International Association of Contemporary Art Curators. His selection is based on their previous work and on a proposal submitted for a unique work to be made specifically for the Salon.

Granting Access for New Opportunities

All artists invited to exhibit are without gallery representation, and their exhibition is a unique opportunity for their work to be seen by leading industry professionals. Because creating new work for the show can come at an expense for an artist building a career, this year Invaluable has partnered with the Salon to award five grants that support the work of artists of exceptional promise in the realm of art and technology.

The grants will provide the funds for materials to enable them to complete their work. The grant recipients were selected from a pool of applicants by the curator Ami Barak to fit into one of four thematic categories:

  • Élevage de poussière (“Dust Settling”), art which translates the inherent strangeness of images, materials or elements that tend to be considered ordinary.
  • Fiction des possibles (“Fiction of the Possible”), art which interweaves fiction and reality.
  • Récits muets (“Mute Tales”), art which questions past possibilities and presents them as contemporary reality.
  • Laboratoire des formes (“Laboratory of Form”), art which plays with, adapts, highlights, or questions form.

This year’s 5 recipients are Ludivigne Large-Bessette, Pauline Lavogez, Felipe Alfonso, Pauline Brun, and Louis Clais. Here’s how each is leading the digital revolution, starting in Paris.

Felipe Alfonso

“Artifact as a Refugee” by Felipe Alfonso, 2017 Salon de Montrouge.

Portuguese-born Felipe Alfonso is concerned by our perceptions of past, present, and future reality. He travels to heritage sites which serve as “spiritual destinations” in contemporary society, and explores the place of material history in a digital world.
In his video work, Artifact as a Refugee, Afonso stages a battle between a number of paradoxes including: human and object, salvage and destruction, conservation and abandonment, repatriation and theft, original and forgery, physical and digital, uniqueness and franchisement, legal and illegal, origin and destination, freedom and detention, tribal and modern and authoritarianism and democracy. This work is inspired by the 2015 agreement between UNESCO and the French president Francois Hollande to repatriate objects that make up global cultural heritage, which are at risk of destruction by war.

Pauline Brun

“Etalon par Défaut” by Pauline Brun, 2017 Salon de Montrouge.

Pauline Brun explores visibility: what is exposed and what escapes exposure. The concept of the White Cube and Black Box play an active role in Brun’s work. Rather than a passive place in which to install an artwork, they are participants in the work she presents.

For the Salon de Montrouge, Brun’s performative video piece, Etalon par Défaut, will bring together figurative and cinematographic themes from her work. Both video production and performance are part of the artwork as the video, which appears to be on loop, is made up of 15 individual sequences, each lasting 20 minutes. Brun’s installation will be a space for the viewer to sit and observe the video, and perhaps even become a part of the performance.

Louis Clais

Digital artist Louis Clais experiments with the virtual world, using the ubiquity of the internet to make his work accessible at any time, from anywhere.

For the fair, Clais has created a website, called Untitled. It allows visitors to print questions written by the artist in a variety of formats, which can be used for a variety of practical applications such as table mats for a restaurateur.

During the exhibition, he will demonstrate how the site can be used by creating a table and chairs from his printed questions. These will, in turn, work to facilitate conversation and allow visitors to take a moment of contemplative rest during the exhibition.

Clais’ ambition is to create an artwork that is easily transmissible via the internet, but can be made tangible through the simple process of printing. The website will be both a work of art, as well as a tool that allows individuals to create their own works of art.

Ludivigne Large-Bessette

“Adaptation” by Ludivigne Large-Bessette, 2017 Salon de Montrouge.

Ludivigne Large-Bessette is fascinated by the body, and how it can be used to unsettle audiences or prompt them into thought. Large-Bessette reflects on the place of the body in contemporary environments and contemporary society.

At the Salon de Montrouge, Large-Bessette will be presenting a work of video art, called Drop Out Bodies. Recalling the Danse Macabres of the Middle Ages, her short film involves forty dancers and actors and mixes video art with modern dance. Historically, the Danse Macabre was a genre of art that reminded viewers of the fragility of life, likewise Large-Bessette uses this motif to encourage us to reflect on the contemporary era.

Pauline Lavogez

Pauline Lavogez is inspired by literature, be it political essay or fiction, to create thought-provoking work in the form of installation, performance and video art.

At the Salon, Lavogez will present a work based on Annie Ernaux’s book, La Honte (“The Shame”), which tells the story of a traumatic childhood experience. Lavogez’s work, Gagner malheur (“To Gain Unhappiness”), is a machine designed to emit a mysterious sound with an origin that cannot be determined. It examines how the sensations and perceptions relating to trauma manifest, develop, change, and remain over time. She works to create a form and an energy for an absent presence, and to question the limits of discomfort.

As supporters of artistic expression – from antiquity to contemporary art – Invaluable is proud to help fuel France’s new creative blood, boosting exposure for emerging artists and building connections with galleries so that these artists can reach the next stage in their careers.

Salon de Montrouge runs from April 27 – May 24, 2017. Join the Invaluable editors on more art world adventures via Twitter and Instagram with #InOnTheGo.