12 Oct 2008
04 Jan 2009


Magasin, Grenoble

October 12, 2008 – January 4th, 2009 / opening Saturday 11 October, 6pm

Le Magasin dedicates an exhibition and a publication to the 80s’ decade .

The exhibition is structured according to a simple framework:

- Its time is this of a decade beginning in 1980 and finishing in 1989, though the preceding and following years are to be taken into account.
- Its geographical space is this of its time, of geopolitics harshly dividing the planet between non-communist industrialised countries, in the bosom of the United-States; the soviet bloc, and the rest of the world, third or quarter.
- Its artists and their works, finally, are those of the very decade. The presented or reproduced works all find their origin in this period; their creators having appeared on the artistic scene at this time, after their beginnings in the years 1976-1977. This choice excludes, without ignoring them, major artists of the previous generations, still active by then, and uncontested references at the time (Richard Artschwager, Gehrard Richter, etc...).

Our project is thus shortly summed up: the artists from the end of the 70s to 1989 in democratic industrialised countries. Since its basic elements are defined, here is the method of its realisation.

From the very start, we refused to take market defined excellence criteria into account, not willing to select artists regarding their commercial success – or failure. Our selection process found its logic in a prior methodological research on the theoretical stakes of the time, giving the considered matters their sense.

Le Magasin has previously devoted various projects to this period, with the publication of anthologies (Aids Riot, Collectifs d’artistes face au sida. New York, 1987-1994…), the organisation of collective shows accompanied by catalogues (Images, Objets, Scènes. Quelques aspects de l’art en France depuis 1978), or the organisation of solo shows or publications (Richard Prince, Jack Goldstein, John Miller, etc…).

It quickly seemed that the assembled materials could be organised around two central themes, and further that their amount was such that we could imagine two corresponding items – exhibition and publication – in two parts. The first one is dedicated to questions of public/private space and community, while the second, which will be presented during the summer 2009, will focus on images and representations, with the works of major artists such as Mike Kelley or Martin Kippenberger.

The first part’s exhibition

After the 70s, the artistic scene is, as is the whole intellectual and critic world, concerned with the thinking of post-modernity; that is to say the « end of great narratives » analysed by Lyotard in 1979 in The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge.

As the decade that witnessed the come-back to the ethics and aesthetics of communitarian - even tribal - cultures, the 80s are the years of triumphant liberalism and economy, in the research of egotistic well-being; what thinkers like Habermas or Sloterdijk point out and denounce. This philosophical and intellectual background is preponderant for the artistic scene, namely with the major influence of the “French theory” on the North-American school.

The artists found their position towards these discussions, and the exhibition proposes a spatial articulation of the works that take these theoretical debates into account; it does not function as an illustration of the latter. The show is organised on a circulation that enables the discovery of themes, inaugurated by the central space of Le Magasin, la Rue; with a project-and-site specific wall painting by Günther Förg.

In the exhibition galleries, the space is distributed by two circulation corridors through in-dimensions-and-themes-varied spaces, leading to a central, wide and circular room, which configuration is thought of by John Armleder.

In the thematic spaces, the notions of architecture are presented; in opposition to the dissipation of the public sphere, and in turn its privatisation. Artists Ludger Gerdes and Thomas Schütte affirm the necessity to re-invest the public space, its urbanism and architecture.

The following spaces, in counterpart, expose the private and domestic sphere, with decors by Thomas Ruff, photographed little scenes by Laurie Simmons, that critically put into light the enslaved condition of housewives; or Haim Steinbach and Thomas Huber making use of the shelf, self-standing or on the wall, as a paradigm of display.

The second rooms’ group focuses on the community of the art world, with the presentation of series of artists’ or anonymous neighbours’ portraits by Richard Prince, Axel Hütte, Tom Warren or John Ahearn.

The collective experiments of the North-American alternative scene, specifically in New York, are evocated via the reconstitution of one of the Time Square Show’s rooms, as well as via a video space broadcasting the film and video productions of the period, privileged fight supports of many activist groups by then.

The exhibition’s line will enable a discovery or re-discovery of a few artists, or, for those whose work is very visible, rare pieces, lesser known or yet to be unravelled.


At the occasion of the show, publication of a bilingual catalogue, English and French, with texts by Yves Aupetitallot, Hal Foster, Maria Garzia, Ludger Gerdes, Dan Graham, Félix Guattari, Fredric Jameson, Lucy Lippard, Alan Moore, Paolo Portoghesi, Sally Webster.
Format 22 x 28 cm, 240 p. color, stiff cover.
Publication Magasin, Grenoble, 2008
ISBN 978-2-906732-84-1

List of presented artists (provisory list dated 29/08/08)

John M. Armleder, Günther Förg, Philippe Cazal / Jacques Fournet, Thomas Schütte, Allan Mc Collum, James Casebere, James Welling, Thomas Struth, Ludger Gerdes, Bernard Bazile, Laurie Simmons, Haim Steinbach, Bertrand Lavier, Thomas Huber, Bazile/Bustamante, Meyer Vaisman, Robin Winters, Coleen Fitzgibbon, © les readymade appartiennent à tout le monde, Christof Kohlhofer, Christy Rupp, John Ahearn, Jenny Holzer /Peter Nadin, Rebecca Howland, David Robbins, Axel Hütte, Thomas Ruff, Tom Warren, IFP, Stephan Eins, Jane Dickson, John Malpede.

Thomas RUFF
Thomas RUFF
Thomas RUFF
Bernard BAZILE
Tom Warren
General information
MAGASIN – National center of contemporary art
Site Bouchayer-Viallet
155 cours Berriat
38000 Grenoble- France
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