Built around artworks of the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art and collections of the Mémorial de Caen, this exhibition looks at the representation of history’s onward march: that of the Vietnam war and the confrontation between blocs during the Cold War, of the late trials of Nazis in Germany, Franquism in power and the Chinese cultural revolution, but also the more social side of history, of May 1968, the struggles for equality among sexes and against racial segregation, that of urban transformation, mass consumption and tourism, all pivotal to Western history.
Besides objects drawn from the Mémorial de Caen’s collection, the exhibition gathers 69 artworks from 26 French and European artists related to Narrative Figuration, a movement which developed in France concurrently to Pop Art in the English-speaking world. These artists used similar references from the movie industry, cartoons or advertising, while being more committed in opposition to the political, economic, and social hegemony of the United States. Whether they condemn American Imperialism, the period’s dictators – in Spain, Portugal, Argentina, and Chile notably – or deplore rising nuclear threats in a moment where opposing blocs faced each other, these artists bring a critical eye to their time and the world around them. But they also support social and political movements in Europe in the aftermath of May 1968.
The exhibition unfolds in 10 thematic sections over two floors, which allows visitors to comprehend the upheavals that underlie this fifteen year-period.