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  • Writer's pictureRiccardo Rizz

Espace de l'Art Concret

Halfway between Cannes and Grasse is Mouans-Sartoux, a town whose name I still cannot pronounce correctly, but which hosts a stunning go-to place: the Espace de l'Art Concret, a contemporary art center with a collection of abstract art unique in France, donated by Albers-Honegger.

This resource of more than 700 works encourages a continual dialogue between works from many different horizons, confronting different theoretical propositions and specific sociological and political contexts. While the heart of the collection is built around the works of renowned members of the Concret Art movement, both Swiss (Max Bill, Richard Paul Lohse, Camille Graeser, Gottfried Honegger) and French (Bernard Aubertin, Jean-François Dubreuil, François Morellet, Aurelie Nemours), the collectors situated the ensemble in the long history of European abstract art.

Faithful to the universal spirit of Concrete Art, the collectors did not limit themselves to purely geometric works. They enlarged the scope of their collection by including remarkable and sometimes surprising works that can claim a link to this historical movement in a manner that makes it a work of art in and of itself.

It seems evident today that the important players of Minimalism or Conceptual Art would be included in the permanent collection (Joseph Beuys, Daniel Buren, Alan Charlton, Richard Long, Helmut Federle, Imi Knoebel, Olivier Mosset, Bernar Venet, Franz Erhald Walther from Europe or Carl Andre, Robert Barry, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Joseph Kosuth, Richard Serra from the United States). It is less evident that artists linked to Arte Povera (Manzoni), Support-Surface (Claude Viallat) or New Realism (Tinguely) should also appear there. This witnesses the collectors’ visionary spirit: they chose to examine the rigorous principals of concrete art as they have been explored in the most radical movements of the twentieth century.

This independent, almost impertinent, vision underlies the entire collection and its historical impact is enlarged by the unexpected new territories it explores in the contemporary.

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