Monday, September 13, 2010

The Tyranny of Beauty

For anyone lucky enough to be in glorious Paris from now until 23 October you must check out a contemporary exhibit.  Yes, contemporary!  Jean-Charles de Castelbajac's newest show, The Tyranny of Beauty feature's some of our favourite Gainsboroughs, including an appearance by Her Grace, herself and her good friend, Little Po.

Castelbajac combines the images of famous art historical works with recognizable graphics from our contemporary culture.  The historical images are not prints but actually the oil copies of paintings that you can purchase from China (here is an example).  By devaluing the artwork by reproducing it so easily, Castelbajac adds further degradation by adding commercial imagery.  Here is a snippet from the artist statement:
The tyranny in question is that of an insatiable need to please, of youth's domination, of a quest for immortality and of the denial of time past.
Castelbajac adds trait, logo, sign or brand obliteration to classic master paintings. As if creams, capsules or other artifices could open up a path to eternal youth and stamp their radiant faces with indelible copyrights.
The exhibition sounds like a delight, I only wish I could finagle an impromptu trip to Paris.  Many thanks to Fabultastic for keeping me up to date on the exhibit.

Further images of the exhibit from TrendLand


  1. I'll try to go there if I find the time between uni and my two jobs, and I'll let you know how it was :)Thanks for telling us about it, it sounds really interesting!

  2. Yes, you'll have to be our field reporter!

  3. Perhaps the name was inspired by Jules Lubbock's book The Tyranny of Taste?

  4. First of all I must say that Monsieur Castelbajac is a royal. If France was still a monarchy he would be the Marquis de Castelbajac. Search for his family and you will be surprised.

    Secondly, I must say I just love the way you write. I would kill to master the English language to way yo do. It took me a while to get the nerve to write comments on your blog.

    Thirdly,thank you for your kind comment. I am a «laudator temporis acti» but also fascinated with this post-modern world...

  5. You are really too kind; I, in turn, am quite envious of your ability to speak/write fluently in more than one language! So you have "one-up" on me!

  6. Oh yes, please do tell us how it was!