Contemporary art

From 2 April 2023

Victor Brauner’s work, associated with Surrealism in the years before World War II, provides the MASC’s collections with an insight into the second part of the twentieth century through two major series. With Onomatomanies, the artist embarks on a journey of joyous introspection, creating his own avatars armed with superpowers. His seminal series Mythologies et la Fête des mères (1965) brings major primitive myths into collision with the new idols of consumer society.

Abstract art, which had gained prominence, split into two different strands at the end of the War: gushingly thick layers of warm, lyrical and gestural abstraction on the one hand, and cold, precise and geometric abstraction of flawless workmanship on the other. Reduced to its simplest expression in the early 1970s, art itself took centre stage as subject in the works of the group Supports/Surfaces that analysed and explored the actual components of creation, tools, materials and processes.

Figurative work made a huge comeback in the 1960s. The works of artists of the ‘Narrative Figuration’ movement – a militant European offshoot of the Pop Art phenomenon – adhered to a clear line that was rooted in the new media. Following the hearty recognition of the ‘enfants terribles’ of the French ‘Figuration Libre’ movement at the dawn of the 1980s, art became untamed, raw with no holds barred, drawing heavily on popular culture.

In the new millennium, which coincides with the digital revolution, painting continues to reinvent itself, putting its future back on the line. Far from being depleted by the sheer number of images, it has become more inclusive, open to a whole new array of hybrid forms.