German artist Franz Ackermann's A Range of Thoughts transforms Galerie Templon's space on Rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare in Paris with an immersive installation that questions the notion of physical and mental travel.
The new exhibition, his first in four years in Paris, is rooted in a sudden confrontation between the artist's personal observations down the decades on urban geography and space, and the reality of a global pandemic. At the heart of the gallery, a Tadjik-inspired cabin offers a glimpse of rugs laid casually on the floor in a nod to the many thwarted journeys over the last couple of years. The artist wonders: "How did the epidemic restrict our physical freedom? What impact did the pandemic have on our perception of travel and our status as city dwellers?"
The answer he comes up with is an experimental game that plays with imposing "mental maps" that unfurl over several metres. At the back of the gallery, two painted walls and fifteen works – photographs, oils, water colours, acrylics, and drawings – offer an almost insolent dissonance, a "thirst for freedom in a world sorely lacking in it today."
The basement space, on the other hand, plunges visitors into a striking and chaotic universe: six monumental oil paintings covered in video projections. Ackermann uses this silent carnival to explore the post-Covid world: "In an era of hyper-digitalisation and hyper-information, how do we now perceive the difference between reality and illusion? What has become of experiences described as 'authentic'?"
Born in 1963, Franz Ackermann lives and works in Berlin and Karlsruhe (Germany). He has taken part in numerous major group exhibitions over the last 20 years in Europe, the USA and Japan, including: 2018, Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Germany; 2017, Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, USA; 2016, Pinacoteca de São Paolo, Brazil; 2009, Tate Triennial, London, UK; 2009, Dallas Museum of Art, USA; 2006, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany; 2005, Whitney Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; 2005, MoMA, New York, USA; 2005, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan, and 2003, Venice Biennale, Italy. In France, Franz Ackermann's work has been seen in 2005 at the Biennale d’art contemporain in Lyon and Printemps de septembre festival in Toulouse, in 2004 at la maison rouge and in 2003 at the Palais de Tokyo, both in Paris. The Staatliche Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe (2014) and Berlinische Galerie in Berlin (2013) recently held major solo exhibitions of his work. And in 2018, as part of the renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center, Franz Ackermann created About Sand, a towering mural for the outer façade of the building.