My first stop was the public art center bbb to see the exhibition of Samuel Richardot and Michel Perot, two recent graduates from the cole, where they were both selected to participate in Bernard’s famous seminar—now in its final year.
Their large-scale paintings (Richardot’s abstract and Perot’s figurative) were installed over John Armleder’s backdrop for the festival—a series of seven colors of wall paint used in a variety of combinations in the exhibition venues.
The trickle of partygoers quickly grew into, if not a flood, at least a tributary, with London dealer Anthony Reynolds, Letter to Brezhnev director Chris Bernard, and Ed Linse of Artists Anonymous spilling out into the beanbag-chair-strewn street.
Inside, the warren of galleries (the place takes the warehouse-chic aesthetic to a whole new level) were flush with what can only be described as Liverpool’s “team youth”: bright-eyed young things who’ve produced some of the best new work I’ve seen in ages.
On my way out, I saw Yann Chevalier, curator of Confort Moderne, Poitiers, and mentioned my plans to go to Toulouse the next morning for the opening of “Printemps de Septembre.” He got me up to speed on curator Christian Bernard’s program for the three-week festival: “It’s not just young French artists—it’s all of the artists that you’ve got to follow.”Toulouse is gorgeous.Indeed, work by fellow artist Steve Bishop was already being snapped up.His taxidermied fox shot through with fluorescent light tubes (Suspension of Disbelief)—one onlooker cheekily remarked that “taxidermy is a bit 2007”—obviously found favor with a Norwegian collector, who bagged the piece.But as I approached the museum early Thursday evening, Peter Clare was already cheerfully leading Snowdrop, his life-size mechanical elephant, on short tours for enthusiastic young French attendees.It seemed an avenue of communication had been forged.“When I first saw the elephant perform, as it were, six years ago, that was an epiphany for me,” Deller said.
The evening climaxed with a party in the garden behind the Abattoirs Museum where finally everyone seemed to relax.