The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature opens its doors to Sean Landers (b. 1962), a leading figure of contemporary American art and figurative painting. From October 17, 2023 to March 10, 2024, the museum’s visitors will be able to discover the work of this major artist, through an exhibition of his animal portraits. The exhibition marks the return of Sean Landers to France, following his retrospective in 2020 at the Consortium Museum in Dijon. The exhibition will feature some thirty works, mainly from private collections. Bronzes will complete the visitor's tour, and three animal portraits will be created especially for the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature.
Educated at the Yale University School of Art in the 1980s, Sean Landers explains his adoption of figuration as an alternative stance, a dangerous path that was at that time fatally irresistible: "Doing figurative art when I was in art school was the “wrong” choice when minimal and conceptual art were more popular. It was thought to be absurd, laughable, so of course, how could I resist it?" Throughout his career Sean Landers has used his personal experiences as subject, using humor and irony, to challenge the artist's ego.
For example, in The Urgent Necessity of Narcissism for the Artistic Mind (Jaguar), a jaguar with pink and green tartan fur has become Narcissus, literally drinking his reflection in a pond. In the background, like a diorama from a natural history museum, a forest of tree trunks develops as a narcissistic echo, engraved with the artist's first name repeated ad infinitum: Sean, Sean, Sean...
For over ten years, Sean Landers has been developing his series of tartan-furred animals. This incongruous, trompe-l'œil use of tartan is a reference to Magritte—to his so-called "La période vache" of 1948 when, in a deliberately coarse style, he undermined the notion of "good painting". The temporary exhibition room at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature will be entirely devoted to this series. While upstairs, in dialogue with the permanent collections, including its animal portraits by Chardin (1699-1779), Oudry (1720-1778) or Desportes (1661-1741), and taxidermied animals, the visitor will set off to meet a parade of creatures as marvelous as they are mysterious.
A lion and monkey with fake wood fur, rabbit or rooster staring back at their observers, perhaps questioning their own humanity. The exhibition opens with other series that punctuate Sean Landers' artistic career, demonstrating the extreme importance of text and the written word in his relationship with Surrealism—a forest of birch trees with trunks covered in writing carved into the wood, or a library displaying fanciful titles like riddles or confessions by the artist.
About Sean Landers
Born in 1962 in Palmer, Massachusetts, Sean Landers received his BFA from Philadelphia College of Art in 1984 and his MFA from Yale University School of Art in 1986. Living and working in New York, he is represented by Petzel in New York, Rodolphe Janssen in Brussels, Capitain Petzel in Berlin, and Taka Ishii Gallery in Tokyo. Sean Landers' work can be found in numerous institutions.
Museums and public collections include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Denver Art Museum; Seattle Art Museum; Dallas Museum of Art; Tate Modern, London; Sammlung Hoffmann, Berlin; and Fundación/La Colección Jumex, Mexico.