frac champagne-ardenne
fonds régional d'art contemporain
1, place museux 51100 reims
+33(0)3 26 05 78 32

+33(0)3 26 05 13 80
Monts Analogues

Monts Analogues

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Featuring over 40 artists around the figure of René Daumal: Ellie Antoniou, Béatrice Balcou, Rosa Barba, Hélène Bellenger, Simone Boisecq, Gaëlle Choisne, Clément Cogitore, Guillaume Constantin, Eric Croes, René Daumal, Simon Demeuter, Quentin Derouet, Kim Détraux, Luc Dietrich, Julien Discrit, Jimmie Durham, Anne Goujaud, Nancy Graves, Raymond Hains, Artür Harfaux, Manon Harrois, Charles Hascoët, Maurice Henry, Tom Ireland, Florence Jung, Kapwani Kiwanga, Laura Lamiel, Charles Lopez, Nina Beier & Marie Lund, Bibi Manavi, Laurent Montaron, Otobong Nkanga, Philippe Parreno, David Posth-Kohler, David Renaud, Karine Rougier, Joseph Sima, Patti Smith + Soundwalk Collective, Stéphanie Solinas, Julien Tiberi, Trevor Yeung

Exhibition curators: Boris Bergmann, author, and Marie Griffay, Director of the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne

This September, the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne inaugurates a large collective exhibition devoted to Mount Analogue, a novel by author René Daumal (1908-1944). Combining art and literature, the exhibition celebrates Daumal’s influence, in particular the impact of his last book, Mount Analogue, on the artists of his day and beyond.

Imagined as an expedition, the exhibition explores some of the book’s major themes: a poetic community, individual and collective faith, and elevation towards an interior and secret summit. Carried by Daumal’s writing and personal interpretations by the participating artists, the exhibition invites us to find within ourselves the means to accessing Mount Analogue.

Mount Analogue is a magical book that accompanies and guides the existence of all those who simply by reading it, take part in Daumal’s quest. The initiatory narrative tells us that there is a geographical passageway between Earth and Sky, and between our certainties and hesitations: a gigantic mountain that is at once accessible but hidden. This is Mount Analogue. The rule is simple: in order to be able to see it, one must first believe.

For Boris Bergmann, co-curator of the exhibition: “Mount Analogue is not only an important literary text. It has served as a reference for several generations of artists, including the poet and singer Patti Smith, and visual artist and filmmaker Philippe Parreno, as well as a whole generation of younger artists from all around the world.  Painters, musicians, sculptors and filmmakers: all have read and enjoyed Mount Analogue, and all have used it as a source of inspiration. A secret passage towards creation. An assembly point. A compass that reveals other ‘Norths’. It was simply a question of gathering them together. It was in Reims that the teenage Daumal founded a highly radical literary group. The literary review Le Grand Jeu was the genesis of Daumal, and Mount Analogue his apogee. In both cases, the quest for liberty is experienced via an inner, poetic experience, through the establishment of a community.”

As René Daumal himself wrote: “the very fact that there are now two of us changes everything. The task doesn’t become twice as easy: after having been impossible, it has become possible.” (1)

According to Marie Griffay, co-curator of the exhibition: “To imagine this exhibition-expedition, we carried out our research concentrically in artist’s studios, archives, catalogues, and collections, with the intuition that the works presented in Reims should come from our direct entourage, from the literary and artistic starting point that was Daumal. Therefore, we brought together some one hundred artworks, created by approximately forty artists, with the idea of constructing an exhibition that explored humans’ capacity to join forces to create together.”

Alongside known and established artists like Patti Smith, who is presenting videos produced with the Soundwalk Collective taken from their latest album, Peradam, directly inspired by Daumal, or Philippe Parreno, whose work Mont Analogue transcribes Daumal’s text in luminous and rhythmic pulsations, may be found a whole generation of younger artists, who continue to read and appreciate Daumal. The FRAC has invited them to produce work especially for the occasion. Therefore, we have on display new paintings by Karine Rougier and Simon Demeuter, new ceramic totems by Eric Croes, as well as reactivated pieces by Charles Lopez, Florence Jung, Quentin Derouet and Hélène Bellenger.

The works of modern artists may also be seen alongside these new productions thanks to a number of exceptional loans from the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Reims, the Bibliothèque Carnegie and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris allowing visitors to rediscover the works of Simone Boisecq, René Daumal, Luc Dietrich, Artür Harfaux, Maurice Henry and Joseph Sima in an unprecedented proximity. Works from the FRAC Collection further complete the visions of Mount Analogue, including pieces by Rosa Barba, Gaëlle Choisne, Jimmie Durham, Anne Goujaud, Raymond Hains, Manon Harrois, Tom Ireland, David Posth-Kohler and David Renaud.

This renewed quest to attain Mount Analogue benefits from numerous loans from artists, galleries and others FRACs and institutions, thereby enabling the public to discover the work of Ellie Antoniou, Béatrice Balcou, Clément Cogitore, Guillaume Constantin, Kim Détraux, Julien Discrit, Nancy Graves, Charles Hascoët, Kapwani Kiwanga, Laura Lamiel, Marie Lund & Nina Beier, Bibi Manavi, Laurent Montaron, Otobong Nkanga, Stéphanie Solinas, Julien Tiberi and Trevor Yeung.

Constructed around Daumal’s aura and the highly personal interpretation of his writing by each of the invited artists, the exhibition has a single goal: to allow us to go beyond ourselves in our attempt to reach Mount Analogue, this possible that allows us to see everything, create everything. Be everything.

1 : René Daumal, Mount Analogue: An Authentic Narrative. Translation by Roger Shattuck. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1959.

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