Scientific expert threatens Louvre with legal action over Leonardo da Vinci exhibition

France — Investigation

Pascal Cotte, a French scientist who has written several studies and two books on the 'Mona Lisa', and who has digitised several works by Leonardo da Vinci, has accused the Louvre Museum of “parasitism” in relation to his work. Cotte claims that in its major exhibition on the artist, which ends on February 24th, the Paris museum has not credited his discoveries and ground-breaking work on the artist and his most famous painting. Karl Laske reports.

The Afghan artists who combat fear and fatality


An exhibition is showing in the southern French city of Marseille showcasing 60 works by 11 contemporary Afghan artists. The installations, brought together under the title "Kharmohra: Art Under Fire in Afghanistan", reflect the horrors of war, terrorism, religious bigotry and the subservience imposed on women, but also the extraordinary courage of a generation of artists who refuse to be cowed. Jean-Pierre Perrin reports.

Da Vinci's 'Vitruvian Man' to go to Paris exhibition

International — Link

After a court battle in Italy to prevent its transfer, Leonardo da Vinci's celebrated ink drawing work 'The Vitruvian Man', based on the writings of the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius who correlated the measurements and design of the human body into architecture, a loan has finally been approved to the Louvre museum in Paris for a major upcoming exhibition  marking the 500th anniversary of the Italian polymath's death.

Jacques Henri Lartigue: his works in colour

Portfolios — 10 photos

Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894-1986) reached fame as a photographer late in life, beginning with his first exhibition that was presented at the New York Museum of Modern Art, the MOMA, in 1963 when he was aged 69. Later that year, US magazine Life published a series of his photos in the same edition reporting the assassination of president John F. Kennedy. That propelled him to overnight celebrity, and he became widely recognised as one of the foremost photographers of the 20th century. Lartigue, who had in fact spent much of his adult life as a painter, developed his interest and skills in photography after receiving his first camera at the age of eight, and by the end of his life he had shot a total of about 100,000 photos, capturing a wide variety of subjects, from sporting events and the early years of aviation, to celebrities and anonymous figures, charting the history of the 20th century through everyday life and momentous occasions. Much of his known work, and notably that which revealed him at MoMA, was in black and white, but he produced stunning colour photography during two periods of his life; as a young adult using the Autochrome process developed by the Lumière brothers in 1903, and later, as of 1949, using colour film with his Leica. The Campredon Art Centre in the southern French town of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is showcasing almost 100 works from Lartigue's singularly beautiful colour photography in an exhibition now open until February 18th 2018 (see details bottom of page), examples of which Mediapart presents here, with translations of the original captions Lartigue gave them.

Life and death amid the ruins of conflict

Portfolios — 15 photos

Russian freelance photographer Sergey Ponomarev has spent the last two years covering events in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Ukraine. His award-winning work has been regularly featured in The New York Times and French weekly Paris Match. He began his career with Associated Press in Moscow in 2003, initially focusing on Russian society and culture before covering the 2006 conflict between Israel and the Lebanese-based Hezbollah group, and later, in 2011, the Libyan revolution. A freelance since 2012, the 34-year-old has continued his reporting of conflict zones, from the civil war in Syria, from Gaza and Israel during the 2014 Israeli offensive in Gaza codenamed ‘Protective Edge’, and the Ukraine, during both the uprising that toppled former president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 and the subsequent pro-Russian separatist conflict in the east of the country. A collection of his work is currently being showcased in Paris, at the Galerie Iconoclastes (see details bottom of page) in an exhibition on until June 9th. Mediapart presents here below a selection of 15 compelling and often disturbing photos from those on display, and which vividly illustrate both the horrors of war and the staggering capacity of peoples to retrieve a semblance of normality amid surrounding turmoil.

Paris City Hall showcases homeless photographers' exhibition

France — Link

Trained by a professional photographer, a group of homeless men and women have captured their own view of life in the City of Light.

From glory to gore: the changing picture of war


As of the late 18th century, artists began depicting war as a disastrous event rather than a glorious one, when the horrors of the battlefield and the destruction of environments began gradually replacing majesty and heroics. The long evolution of this trend to its dominant position in the present day is illustrated in ‘The Disasters of War, 1800-2014’, an exhibition now on at the Louvre-Lens, in north-east France, and which will last until the autumn. Joseph Confavreux takes a tour of the show.

Centre Pompidou pays tribute to the art of the paparazzi


An unprecedented exhibition dedicated to the history, practices, aesthetics and influence of ‘paparazzi’ photography has opened at the Centre Pompidou annex in Metz, eastern France. It presents more than 100 years of pictures by paparazzi, their tricks of the trade and the stylistic inspiration their work has had on artists. Joseph Confavreux takes a tour of the show and hears the opinions of two paparazzi, one of whom bagged the infamous photos revealing President François Hollande’s secret meetings with the actress Julie Gayet.    

The beastly works of Bom.k

Portfolios — 10 photos

Graffiti artist Bom.k grew up in a down-at-heel Paris suburb close to Orly airport and in 1999 joined the burgeoning French street art movement, creating graffiti crew DMV (Da Mental Vaporz). While contuing to produce outsize murals in urban wastelands, from 2005, Bom.k began developing his art in a studio, and latterly centring on the theme of fearsome creatures, a monstrous mix of beast and human. International recognition of his work has seen him participate in exhibitions in Europe, north America and Asia, and last year he staged his first solo show ‘Vertiges et Somnolence’ (‘Dizziness and Drowsiness’) in Paris, confirming his place at the summit of the French graffiti movement. This month, the 40 year-old's haunting, gigantic ghost-grey aerosol wall paintings and canvases are showcased in two exhibitions, in France at Montpellier's Montana Gallery and in Los Angeles at the Known Gallery, a selection of which Mediapart presents here.

Paris pays a timely homage to the art and 'the word' of the Kanaks


Just as New Caledonia, the furthest-flung French territory, is about to embark on the final steps for self-determination, the Quai Branly museum in Paris has timely put together a rich and wide-ranging exhibition of the art and culture of the archipelago’s indigenous Kanak population that reveals a people debunking 160 years of colonialism and redefining themselves. Joseph Confavreux outlines the political context of the show, and calls on anthropologist Alban Bensa, an authority on Kanak culture, to decode the exhibition’s vast array of exhibits.

Nelson's blood-soaked Trafalgar coat on show in Paris

International — Link

Coat the admiral wore when shot dead by a French sniper is to leave UK for the first time for show at Les Invalides, where lies Napoléon's body.

France's Musée d'Orsay to open art exhibition in China

Culture-Idées — Link

Nineteenth century paintings from France, including 87 works by French Naturalists, to go on display at new Shanghai art museum.

Poo! The Louvre hosts Belgian enfant terrible Wim Delvoye

France — Interview

After three years of horse-trading - or should that be pig-trading? - the Louvre is finally letting Belgian artist Wim Delvoye show some of his slightly less shocking works. His ‘poo machine’ and live tattooed pigs have been vetoed, but his 36-foot ‘Suppository’ is now sticking straight up into the apex of the Pyramid entrance to this pre-eminent Paris museum. There are also some stuffed, carpeted piglets, contorted crucifixes, and a selection of subversive Gothic-style sculptures on display in the Decorative Arts section this summer. Global meets local, high-brow meets low-brow, in the Wim Delvoye show now on at the Louvre until September. Hugo Vitrani reports.

Buren courts more controversy with monumental Paris show


Celebrated French conceptual artist Daniel Buren has created a gigantic, ambitious work for the Grand Palais in Paris as part of its Monumenta series of projects that began in 2007. The sheer scale of the show, running until June 21st, is awe-inspiring. It occupies a surface of 13,500 square metres,a volume of 500,000 cubic metres and rises 45 metres above the ground. Mediapart’s Hugo Vitrani casts a critical eye over Buren's latest oeuvre, and reviews the 74 year-old artist’s long and often controversial career.

Songtime in Paris


Paris is arguably the most sung about city in the world and now, for the first time in its history, an exhibition in sound and picture has been dedicated to the hundreds of songs and ballads about the capital reaching all the way back to the 16th century. Illustrating the enduring crush of generations of musicians for Paname, the popular nickname for Paris recurrent in 20th-century songs, the show is mirrored on an internet site that offers a virtual singing tour of the capital. Antoine Perraud reports.