International contemporary art is gradually making its way to Asia. A few years ago, an exhibition of the Francois Pianult Collection of contemporary art works in Seoul, South Korea would have been unheard of. Now, it is a growing trend. As of now, PPR chief Francois Pianult has lent 23 works from his elaborate collection of contemporary art to be showcased at Seoul’s SongEun ArtSpace. The exhibition, “Agony and Ecstasy”, marks Pinault’s debut showing in Asia.
The curator of this exhibit is Francesca Amfitheatrof. The exhibition is dedicated to portraits and self-representations. Amfitheatrof has limited the exhibition to four artists – Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami and Cindy Sherman – but has included a variety of artworks. Visitors will spot paintings, statues, photographs, mirror work and even animals preserved in formaldehyde.
Damien Hirst has a butterfly diptych named “Agony and Ecstasy”. However, the main inspiration for the exhibition comes from a biographical novel on Renaissance painter Michelangelo Buonarroti. Written by Irving Stone, the novel focuses on depiction of man. Thus, the exhibition in Seoul also focuses on the featured artists’ perceptions of themselves and others.
English artist Damien Hirst’s existentialist themes will be on full display. Death plays a major role in Hirst’s artworks. Yet, Hirst’s style is at once uncomplicated and striking. Death is used as a way to celebrate life. The fear we generally associate with death is missing, as Hirst offers his own take on life and death. Watch out for his preserved animals, butterfly paintings and recent works like “Bad News” (2009) at the Seoul exhibition.
The “Agony and Ecstasy” exhibit will feature Jeff Koons’ famous bust from the Made in Heaven collection of the 1990s. The iconic 1991 “Bourgeois Bust – Jeff and Ilona”, features a marble bust of artist and his wife in a deep embrace. Other Koons works being showcased at the exhibit include “Olive Oyl” (2004-2009) and “Dutch Couple” (2007). While “Olive Oyl” features a mirror that intriguingly transforms the viewer into the subject of the portrait, “Dutch Couple” is a self-portrait where Koons depicts himself as a monkey.
Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s famous manga characters will make an appearance. Look out for “The Lonesome Cowboy” (1998), inspired from the Andy Warhol movie, as well as pieces like “Milk” and “Cream”, both from 1998.
Finally, we come to American photographer, Cindy Sherman. Sherman is known for her self-portraits, although she is more concerned with depicting a range of different personalities rather than revealing herself. Works like “Hollywood Portraits” (2000) and the “Balenciaga Series” (2007-2008) explore the female identity and the struggles of surviving in modern society. The latter series captures the dichotomy of middle-aged women desperately trying to cling on to their youth.
The Francois Pinault Collection consists of over 2,000 works of art by contemporary artists. In recent years, the collection has gained much acclaim from experts on the contemporary art scene. However, Pinault is not content with the acclaim. Pinault’s aim is to extend the reach of contemporary art all over the world. The PPR chief is doing very well on this front. So far, over 1.5 million visitors from around the world have viewed the art collection.
Via: Art Daily