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Even an exhibition for Michel Houellebecq. The writer, increasingly artist, arrives in New York

By Mariacristina Ferraioli

You now start to career as an artist Michel Houellebecq who, after being invited by Christian Jankowski to participate in Manifesta 11 and have had a solo show at the Palais de Tokyo, curated by Jean de Loisy, is preparing for his first exhibition in the United States. 

Poet, essayist, writer, director, now artist, Houellebecq is one of the most controversial intellectuals of our time. Famous throughout the world for his literary works, the French writer has often been the center of controversy for his noverls considered by some critics gory, pornographic and full of racial hatred. There is a deep connection between writing Houellebecq and his visual works, particularly his photographs and in the intensity and provides rich care with which the elements are caught even the most seemingly insignificant. The French writer brings to New York a number of works already exhibited in Paris and some unpublished works. 



Anguish, paranoia and restlessness are the three elements on which the exhibition French Bashing at the Venus gallery in Manhattan revolves. An exhibition that supports a maturity of stylistic and formal choices compared to previous tests. The artist's action in the exhibition is total. For the New York exhibition Houellebecq completely remodulates the space through the dark walls, a specific lighting and an engaging and pounding sound intervention composed in collaboration with Raphaël Sohier, sound artist and sound engineer. It also divides the gallery into two separate rooms with remarkably different works.


In the first room, hung on the dark walls and illuminated by beams of direct light, a series of photographs capture the gloomy and desolate atmosphere of the suburbs of the great metropolises. The artist has chosen to name the individual images of this series with verses of his poems to underline, if necessary, the link between his writing and his photographs. The second room, on the other hand, presents a space totally different from the first one. Not only for the choice of white walls, but also for the series of images displayed. The theme this time is the homologated and interest-free mass tourism that mortifies, in the shots of Houellebecq, the most beautiful tourist resorts of France and Spain. Here too a sound intervention, always in collaboration with Sohier: this time the soundtrack is joyous, cheerful, carefree, but totally contrasts with the images of the kitschissime cathedrals of mass tourism uninhabited sadly.

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