Groupe Signe at the Villa Paloma
What: Groupe Signe 1971–1974
Where: Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Villa Paloma
When: 21 April to 17 June 2012
Even before the Soviets rolled their tanks into Prague in late 1968, revolution was in the air. In the US, anti-Vietnam protests were swiftly followed by race riots sparked by the assassination of Martin Luther King; in France, the greatest
general strike in history took place, with ten million workers occupying the
factories; and in Monaco, artists Claude Rosticher, Roland Marghieri, Michel Cresp and Pierre Lequienn were putting together their manifesto for a new cultural protest movement called 'Groupe Signe'.
Between 1971 and 1974, in reaction to what they saw as the twin evils of advertising and social conformity, Groupe Signe organized a number of iconoclastic actions in order to broaden public awareness. Their aim, the re-casting of the world according to a greater poetic vision. Their art expressed itself in the street or other public spaces with pop-up installations in which everyone could take part, and in which everyone had a stake.Works were composed of scrap or recovered materials, and tackled themes linked to daily life and deviations in society.
A new exhibition, curated by the Groupe Signe, opens this week at the Villa Paloma, one of the two hubs of the new National Museum of Monaco. Presenting documentation and archive materials from the group's original
performances, the event gives an account of their activities in Monaco and environs, as well as in neighbouring France. The hope is to create a platform
that will allow an exchange of opinion, hopes and dreams for a better future, however utopian.
Schoolchildren will be
invited to workshops to build hot air balloons, debates will be
organized with students, and the public will be invited to voice their
opinions on the exhibition, art and life. 'This retrospective is pertinent', the 140-page bilingual catalogue reminds the visitor, 'because the questions raised forty years ago are unfortunately still relevant today, and because the practice of art remains one of the best solutions'
This exhibition has been organized with the support of the Government of the Principality of Monaco, the Association of the Friends of the Museum and UBS.
Villa Paloma, which dates from the early 20th century, is one of the finest patrician residences in the Principality of Monaco. Originally built for private use, it was sold to the state of Monaco in 1995. In 2008 it was donated to the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, which opened in 2010 under the direction of Marie-Claude Beaud. Since its opening, museum projects have been based in two locations, Villa Sauber (dedicated to performing and decorative arts) and Villa Paloma (showing projects linked to the cultural heritage and landscape analysis.)
Participating artists: Jean-Claude Adam, Pierre Blanc, Stanislas Estrangin, Yvette Gournet, François Gross, Patricia Heine, Michel Isnard, Robert Lepine, Serge Macaferri, Yves Popet, Jacques Riousse, Gérard Serre, Vidéo Group 6