On the 18 topsy-turvy little pieces of this Boulevard des Italiens, the characters, bright shadows of our daily lives, are upside down, lost, cloned or reversed, as if they were ex- iled from themselves and from their brothers and sisters of the street. Are they the Ital- ians on this Parisian boulevard, strangely integrated or disinte- grated, that haven’t been Ital- ian for a long time? These peculiar miniature pic- tures, open for interpretation, are extremely modern. They connect the yesterday, today and tomorrow of the A-part Festival. They connect the Exile Pavilion with the festi- val’s theme of lost paradises, whose poster, designed by Gérard Fromanger like every year since 2010, was rejected by the mayor of Les Baux-de- Provence in 2017, as if he him- self was becoming one of the vibrating shadows of life, and so the painter was exiled from the medieval village. Or rather, this is his own lost paradise, an erotic dance of black on red, the colours of melancholy and of the most physical love, that was erased from the Prince Rainier Garden in Monaco, open to the four winds and to everyone. It’s impossible not to see in this sad form of censor- ship the symbol of a time that is now governed by fear. The fear of offending passers-by. The fear of facing the reality of bodies, our bodies during pleasure or those of migrants in makeshift camps. The fear of accepting our lapses in pleas- ure or violence, even when they are transfigured by art.
Born in 1939 in Pontchartrain Gérard Fromanger lives and works in Paris. One of the pioneers of the return to figuration in the late 1950s and early 1960s in France, Gérard Fromanger became a leading figure of figuration narrative. Friend of sculptor César, with whom he shared a studio, and of Alberto Giacometti, Fromanger joined the figuration narrative artists at the Salon de mai in 1964 and 1965 and soon became involved in the Salon de la Jeune Peinture. Depicting urban environments and anonymous passers-by, his painting technique was close to photography. As a founding member of the Atelier Pop- ulaire at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, he also produced various collective and political serigraphy works during the May 1968 events.