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Nathanaëlle Herbelin in Beautés

24 June—5 November 2023
Group exhibition at FRAC Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France

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Marcel Proust expressed that "true beauty is so unique, so novel, that we fail to immediately recognise it as beauty." This highlights our inherent inability to fully comprehend its allure upon initial encounter, often being taken aback when it reveals itself in retrospect. Beauty exists as a juxtaposition of conflicting emotions, where excitement, awe, poetic elegance, and lightness coexist alongside ignominy, transience, melancholy, and gravity. What may have initially seemed devoid of beauty undergoes an unforeseen blossoming, a subtlety surpassing the conventional connotations attributed to this quality, which is frequently mistaken for mere prettiness.

Collected by the FRAC Auvergne between 1985 and 2023, the "beauties" showcased in this exhibition originated from the creative "whims" of their makers. By whims, we refer to impulses, fantasies, generosity, and abundance; we aim to capture the same thrill (captured by the Italian term "capriccio") that these works ignited in the artists who envisioned them long before they reached us. It's not a singular beauty, but rather a multitude, entwining their contradictions in an unbreakable embrace. Harmony intertwines with discordance, grandeur accommodates stridency, brilliance embraces sharp creases and captivating decay.

The exhibition includes work by artists such as Dirk Braeckman, Rineke Dijkstra, Philippe Durand, Nathanaëlle Herbelin, Albert Oehlen, Milène Sanchez and Frank Stella.