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The Salon de Montrouge is an annual contemporary art show of work by young artists which I had also seen in 2014 and 2015. It’s in a pleasant suburb, since 2013 the southern terminus of métro line 4.

As always with contemporary art many pieces left me cold. But as in past years at Montrouge I found several works to really like, and others that I found very curious even if “like” isn’t quite le mot just.  Here are a few that I found interesting.

This was a favorite because it delivered a shock of recognition after initially seeming dull:

Tetris, 2016, Gwendal le Bihan at the Salon de Montrouge

“Tetris”, 2016, Gwendal le Bihan at the Salon de Montrouge

This piece rightly won a prize because it embodies a concept as well as presenting distinctive objects. The stains on the tee shirt are the artist’s sweat from strenuous nights at Berlin nightclubs over a period of years. (I wonder whether a sly reference is being made to Monica Lewinsky’s cum-stained blue dress, which she never washed?)

Sudarium, 2013-16, Julien Fargetton at the Salon de Montrouge

“Sudarium”, 2013-16, Julien Fargetton at the Salon de Montrouge

One sometimes wonders whether anything whatever can be considered conceptual art, in which case it means nothing. A recent incident in which a student left a pair of glasses on the floor of a gallery tends to support this position. This piece, composed of the heel of a shoe and a split toothpick, does little to contradict the idea:

Loto, 2014, Sun Cunming at the Salon de Montrouge

“Loto”, 2014, Sun Cunming at the Salon de Montrouge

While these pieces are also simple, I found them more stimulating. The first documents the stages by which a silver spoon is transformed into a roll of wire (confusingly placed at opposite ends from the corresponding photos) and in the second the artist has painstakingly crocheted out the central part of a printed pattern, thus effacing the colors but embodying the image in the texture of the thread.

"Cuillère" (Spoon), 2015, Clarissa Baumann at the Salon de Montrouge

“Cuillère” (Spoon), 2015, Clarissa Baumann at the Salon de Montrouge

Sans Titre (Without Title), Golnâz Pâyâni at the Salon de Montrouge

“Sans Titre” (Without Title), Golnâz Pâyâni at the Salon de Montrouge

These make complex reference to women’s reproductive rights but I mainly just liked them as images.

Three pieces on the subject of contraceptives for women, Gaia Fugazza at the Salon de Montrouge

Three pieces on the subject of contraceptives for women, Gaia Fugazza at the Salon de Montrouge

Three pieces are best seen on video:

“Camping Cruise,” 2016, Gwendal Le Bihan (same artist as “Tetris” above) is a model railway that runs through the walls of the gallery every 15 minutes. I set my watch and took a prime position just as it started. What I didn’t bargain on was a field trip of elementary school children, who evidently appreciated the work even more than I did: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXEKc7OQpOg While this was fun for all concerned I did have a nagging doubt whether it’s really “art”.

“Affiches” (“Posters”), 2014, Mathieu Dufois is a miniature diorama showing ruined buildings adorned with posters from the 1960s. I don’t know what it means but it was beautifully done. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqO-2EqQhAo

“Life is(n’t) a Beach”, 2016, Florian Viel (detail). https://youtu.be/3Emstcd4WwY

A group shot to give you some idea of how much more was in the show:

Group of sculptures at the Salon de Montrouge

Group of sculptures at the Salon de Montrouge

This is the last weekend for the 2016 show, but if you enjoy contemporary art I commend it to you for next year.