The heart: a vital organ as both theme and symbol

On 21 February 2020, by Virginie Huet

The Musée de la Vie romantique in Paris explores the heart and its representation in contemporary art.

Ouka Leele: Wound as the fog to the sun, pigment print on paper.
© Galerie VU Paris - Adagp Paris 2019

An equation to make one fear the worst: opening an exhibition entitled "Hearts" on Valentine's Day at the Musée de la Vie Romantique might well cause less than hearty enthusiasm… But prejudice is decidedly soothed by the cast: Niki de Saint Phalle, Jim Dine, Annette Messager, Sophie Calle, Jean-Michel Othoniel and Françoise Pétrovitch. After all, why not? On two floors, thirty star or near-celebrity artists dissect the heart: open, loving, broken, engraved, eternal. A – very – short play in seven acts on a vital organ, through which the museum aims to explore "the extensions of Romanticism in contemporary art, in resonance with its collections". If the argument fails to convince, it is nonetheless a delight to see or rediscover a Pop-style splash by John M. Armleder (A Frog Jumped with a Powder-Brush into the Water, 2014), a love letter carved on a rock by Claude Nori (Napoli, 1982), an idyll of anticipation by Martine Aballéa (Heart of Future, 1988), and a Surrealist archery scene by Ouka Leele (Wound as the fog to the sun, 1987).

"Hearts. Romanticism in Contemporary Art"
Musée de la Vie romantique, 16, rue Chaptal, Paris IXe.
Until 12 july 2020.
www.museevieromantique.paris.fr
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