The Musée d’art Moderne in Paris is delving deeper into the Warhol mystery by presenting, for the first time in Europe, the “Shadows” series – an incredible 130-meter long installation by media-hyped artist Andy Warhol.
After the Centre Pompidou-Metz this summer, it’s the capital’s turn to play host to Andy. But not Andy the artist who dreamt of being a tap dancer, or the Velvet Underground producer, but Andy the painter. Grandiose, superb, in all his mysterious wonder, he has finally arrived! This is a painter who said he never wanted to be one and yet here he is, at the Musée d’art Moderne, once again proving his exceptional talent. The heart of the exhibition features 102 divine canvases from the Dia Foundation – the celebrated Shadows. Presented for the first time in France, this series of silkscreened canvases whose length totals a majestic 130 meters, reveals the true genius of this controversial artist. Because here, painting, multiplicity, staging and art itself are all called into question. Gone are the clichés, the performances, the pop art, the commotion and the “monstration”. In their place is this little-known yet beautiful and extraordinarily bold cycle. Produced in 1979 from two photographs of shadows cast by maquettes taken in his studio and produced especially to create abstract images, the artist then reworked the prints with paint, adding diamond powder to the surface of the paintings, giving them a glamorous and precious feel. The Shadows series, painted in 17 different colors, is a play of tints, symmetries, lines and shapes combined admirably along the walls. Shoulder to shoulder, skin to skin, the canvases invite you to immerse yourself in the painting. Their Byzantine presence, the shadows dazzled by color, invent a new rhythm that aspires to silence. As obscure as they are hallucinatory, the smell of death which haunted the artist hangs around them. This “disco décor”, as he called it, inspires reverence. This is mysticism at its highest point. The fact that they are displayed alongside Self Portraits, Cows, Flowers and the Mao friezes gives them an even greater impact. Welcome, Andy!