At the Valentin gallery, the “Modern Comfort” exhibition brings together, until January 30, the chilling shots of an imaginary city designed by Nicolas Moulin, and some key pieces of French furniture from the “reconstruction” period. A well-organized look at modernity, its hopes and its dead ends.
Welcome to Azurazia and its huge gray concrete towers. For ten years, the photographer Nicolas Moulin, 50, has been building in images this imaginary city, which one would believe came straight out of the fantasies of a post-Soviet dictator or a Chinese urban planner of the 2000s. mixing the true and the false, the artist shows disturbingly realistic photomontages. He even goes so far as to build models, as if this frozen modernity really existed or was about to emerge from the earth. But after all, isn’t it? Isn’t Azurazia a mixture of the suburbs of Moscow, Shanghai, London, São Paulo, or even Greater Paris as it takes shape here and there?
These austere cardboard skyscrapers are placed on furniture that the gallery owner Philippe Valentin has arranged in front of the giant prints by Nicolas Moulin. Furniture dating from the French reconstruction of the years 1940-1950. What does this have to do with Azurazia? “I have a passion for this furniture,” says Philippe Valentin. I discovered it the first time I went to Le Havre, and it was precisely with Nicolas Moulin. »In one of the buildings of the Norman town which was almost entirely bombed during the Second World War and rebuilt by the architect Auguste Perret, one can in fact visit a model apartment fitted out in 1949. It gives a precise idea of the way in which decorators imagined the daily life of the relocated, with bright rooms, brightly colored fabrics and simple wooden furniture.
Find the best of Télérama with our five newsletters: Screens & TV, La Quotidienne, Télérama Sortir Grand Paris, Télérama Soirée (subscriber) and Télérama Week-end (subscriber)