‘Metamorphosis. Art in Europe Now’ at the Fondation Cartier by Edie Ashley

Dear Shaded Viewers,

The exhibition Metamorphosis. Art in Europe opened today at the Fondation Cartier presenting a diversity of voices and vitality currently animating the European art scene. Over the course of a year, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain team set out to meet with young artists from all over Europe, beyond the borders of the European Union. This ambitious research project brought the team to 29 countries, discovering over 200 artists chosen from a preliminary selection of nearly 1,000 artists. Launched without any preconceived ideas or guiding principles, this search culminated in a deliberately restricted selection of 21 artists from 16 countries, who use painting, sculpture, fashion, design or film as their modes of expression. Born between 1980 and 1994, they came of age after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and together demonstrate the extraordinary dynamism of the continent’s artistic scene. Most of them have studied or live in a country other than where they were born, showing the very real mobility that exists within the European cultural space. For the vast majority, this is their first exhibition in an international institution.

With works by:
Gabriel Abrantes, Magnus Andersen, Evgeny Antufiev, Charlie Billingham, Kasper Bosmans, Formafantasma, Benjamin Graindorge, Miryam Haddad, Klára Hosnedlová, Nika Kutateladze, Piotr Łakomy, Lap-See Lam, Kostas Lambridis, Kris Lemsalu, George Rouy, John Skoog, Tenant of Culture, Alexandros Vasmoulakis, Marion Verboom, Jonathan Vinel, Raphaela Vogel


The title of the exhibition was inspired by the various metamorphoses underlying the work of these artists. Their frequently fragmented aesthetics reveal an interest in hybridization, collage, and archaeology. Drawing on legacies, folkloric traditions, and collective memory, they have adopted techniques such as casting, ceramics, and embroidery. Inspired by the past, their works display keen attention to issues of the present. At the center of their work processes are major contemporary preoccupations, metamorphosed: the preservation and recycling of materials, new takes on historical and cultural heritage, and the reexamination of identity constructions. The resulting works, lyrical, refined, or savage, reveal a strong desire to hybridize identities, cultures, and forms of expression. With poetry, fantasy, and humour, this new generation of artists is helping create the face of today’s and tomorrow’s Europe.

The exhibition design is the work of French designer Benjamin Graindorge, and it was conceived in close collaboration with the artists. Eleven artists chose to produce new works for the exhibition, including Greek painter Alexandros Vasmoulakis, Polish sculptor Piotr Łakomy, British painter Charlie Billingham and Greek designer Kostas Lambridis.

Conceived in collaboration with the artists, a program of events including the Nomadic Nights, a Night of Uncertainty and a series of children’s’ workshops will accompany the exhibition. Every Thursday, the Nomadic Nights event will take participants on a tour of Europe via the performing arts, ranging from “virtual dance” to contemporary flamenco from rap music to video games, and revealing the young generation’s ability to combine tradition and modernity. The projects presented, performed by artists from countries as diverse as Armenia, Hungary, Ireland, or Lithuania, demonstrate a shared desire to transcend borders, meet the other and create as one.

Curator: Thomas Delamarre assisted by Sidney Gérard
Associate curator: Leanne Sacramone assisted by Sonia Digianantonio

Exhibition dates: From April 4 to June 16, 2019

Edie Ashley

Edie Ashley grew up in Wales, where she gained a love for motorcycles and horses. She is currently collaborating with Bolt Motorcycles on her first clothing collection made from surplus fabrics. She has a radio show on Portobello Radio called Dirt Bike Dub.