The Ecole de Nice?! … Whatever name it is given or the list of its key figures, there existed from the late 1950s a wave of strong, dynamic and artistic forces in Nice. A constellation of actions and attitudes appeared in the area, as charismatic personalities made their mark, aiming to create connections between Nice and the international capitals of the art world. In Paris, in 1977, the Centre Pompidou celebrated this vitality with the exhibition “A propos de Nice” (About Nice), orchestrated by Ben – one of the main protagonists of this epic movement.
A famous episode initiated the legendary birth of the movement, that of the symbolic division of the world shared by three young men on the beach of Nice in 1947: Yves Klein appropriating the infinite blue of the sky; the poet Claude Pascal seizing the air and Arman repossessing the land and its wealth. This inaugural action, a quest for the absolute, the spirit of challenge and indifference, paved the way for an active scene in the heart of and in reaction to the tranquillity of the seaside town.
Beyond the stories that traditionally defined the Ecole de Nice in a succession of movements, from Nouveau Réalisme, to Fluxus and Supports/Surfaces, the exhibition “A Propos de Nice. 1947-1977” offers a return to the heart of the spirit behind this adventure. It explores primordial actions, revisiting this revolution of forms, this insolence of attitudes, and its appetite for dissidence and fascination with the stories characterizing it. It also brought attention to the emergence of personalities in a cosmopolitan context and a town in the midst of complete transformation.
Artists: Marcel Alocco, Arman, André-Pierre Arnal, Ben, Vincent Bioulès, Robert Bozzi, Jean-Louis Brau, George Brecht, Donna Brewer, Jacques Brissot, Louis Cane, César, Louis Chacallis, Max Charvolen, Albert Chubac, Marc Devade, Daniel Dezeuze, Erik Dietman, Noël Dolla, Robert Érébo, Jean-Claude Farhi, Robert Filliou, Roland Flexner, Paul-Armand Gette, Claude Gilli, Dany Gobert, Toni Grand, Bob Guiny, Vivien Isnard, Yves Klein, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Serge Maccaferri, Robert Malaval, Jacques Martinez, Jean Mas, Martin Miguel, Jean-Pierre Mirouze, Nivèse, Bernard Pagès, Ernest Pignon-Ernest, Pierre Pinoncelli, Pierre Pontani, Éliane Radigue, Martial Raysse, Rotraut, Guy Rottier, Niki de Saint Phalle, Takako Saito, Patrick Saytour, Serge III, Mieko Shiomi, Sacha Sosno, Marianne Staffeldt-Filliou, Jacques Strauch, Anne Tréal, Bernard Tréal, André Valensi, Agnès Varda, Annie Vautier, Bernar Venet, Claude Viallat, Jean Vigo et Gil Jo Wolman.
Hélène Guenin, director of MAMAC with Rébecca François, conservation officer of MAMAC
Curator « Nice 2017. École(S) de Nice »: Jean-Jacques Aillagon
Associated research commissioner within the framework of the curatorial grant of the National center of plastic arts (Cnap): Géraldine Gourbe and Florence Ostende
Documentary research on La Cédille qui Sourit: Éric De Backer