Mircea Cantor, « Înainte »

As part of the Institut Français France-Romania Season, the Musée d’arts is delighted to host internationally renowned artist Mircea Cantor for a solo exhibition in the Chapelle de l’Oratoire.

This exhibition can trace its roots back to 1999 when Robert Fleck, Director of Postgraduate Studies at the École régionale des beaux-arts de Nantes, who was  appointed to the post of Director of the institution a year later, discovered the work of this student from the Academy of Fine Arts in Cluj during a trip to Romania. Mircea Cantor  was invited to pursue postgraduate studies in Nantes, where he spent several years.

Twenty years later, the photograph All the directions forms the starting point for the exhibition.  aken on  the Île de Nantes in 2000, it shows the artist as a hitchhiker holding a blank sign conjuring up every potential destination. There is an element of defiance in  the picture, which was taken when the artist’s American visa application for a study trip to New York was rejected, and it is tinged with melancholy and a sense of  disenchantment. This duality lies at the heart of a large number of works by the artist, who refers to himself as an “artist of the world”, thus challenging notions of identity, ethics,  politics, and also contemporary reality with all its contradictions.

Encompassing video, photography and sculpture, the exhibition brings together a group of recent and earlier  works. The video Adjective to your presence, shot in Tokyo in 2018, shows demonstrators carrying transparent placards. It engages in a dialogue with Landscape is changing, in  which demonstrators carry mirror placards reflecting the city of Tirana, where the film was shot in 2003. Produced in Romania and Nantes, and comprising work from his youth  and pieces from the body of experiments on which the artist is casting his gaze with the benefit of hindsight, the extensive selection of photographs assembled for the exhibition  presents previously unseen material putting in perspective artistic approaches adopted very early in his career by Mircea Cantor and the elements which subsequently became  central to his work.

Traces and memories are placed in counterpoint in the Chapelle de l’Oratoire, illustrating the ambiguous Romanian word Înainte, which can mean both  “forwards” or “before”, depending on the context.

Mircea Cantor

Born in Romania in 1977, Mircea Cantor lives and works “on Earth”. He won the Marcel Duchamp Prize in  2011 and the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard Prize in 2004. His works feature in prestigious collections including the Musée national d’art moderne / Centre Georges Pompidou,  Paris; the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis;  the Rennie Collection, Vancouver; and the Castello di Rivoli, Turin.


A catalogue featuring a text by Robert Fleck and an interview with the artist will be published to accompany the exhibition.


Mircea Cantor. Courtesy de l'artiste & VNH Gallery. Photo : Diane Arques.

From 15 March to 15 September 2019
Chapelle de l'Oratoire

< ArchivesHaut de page