Formerly director of the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Kunsthalle Bern, and the Paris Musée National des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, Jean-Hubert Martin knows a thing or two about art.
A veteran of the Venice and Russian biennale’s, it was the Artempo
exhibition, which he curated with Mattjis Visser and Alex Vervoodt, that served as the grounding for his current work, Theatre of the World, at MONA. The New York Times labelled the mixture of archaeological materials, applied art, old, classical and modern art, married to contemporary installations, "a fabulously eclectic exhibition", and also impressed MONA’s founder, David Walsh.
Before the show created for the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice in 2007, Martin was most well known for staging Magiciens de la Terre at the Centre Georges Pompidou. The show as groundbreaking for it’s scope and scale, with Martin bringing together fifty artists from the art world's "centre" and fifty from its "margins", including many far removed from what is commonly thought of as "contemporary art". This notion is one that has carried on in Martin’s curatorship, with a dedication to expand the parameters of the art world to include otherwise overlooked artefacts.
While this is apparent in his selection of objects displayed at MONA’s Theatre of the World, he’s also implemented such thoughts previously in the Third Moscow Biennale, where his exhibition Against Exclusion
juxtaposed works by known artists such as Anish Kapoor and Spencer Tunick, with artists from African villages, aboriginal tribal chieftains, and Afghan carpet weavers. His inclusion in the Moscow Biennale is no surprise, as Martin had always been involved in Russian. He curated a major Kazimir Malevich exhibition at the Pompidou in 1978, the groundbreaking Paris-Moscou
exhibition in 1979, and the first-ever Ilya Kabakov solo exhibition outside of Russia in the 1980s, while the artist was still in the underground art scene in the USSR.
For a man who has consistently attempted to stretch the boundaries of the art world, it’s no surprise that he’s ended up at Tasmania’s MONA working with David Walsh.
Theatre of the World is at MONA from June 23, 2012 until April 8, 2013
For more information head to the MONA website and don’t forget to check out our Theatre of the World mini-site