I reflect what you are

From Nan Goldin to Roni Horn: intimacy in the Collection Lambert

27.06 – 20.09.2020

Nan Goldin, Self-portrait, Baur au Lac Hotel, Zurich, 1998 © Donation Yvon Lambert à l’État français – Centre national des arts plastiques – Dépôt à la Collection Lambert, Avignon

Stanley Brouwn, Portrait of Yvon Lambert, 2006 © Dépôt Yvon Lambert

Roni Horn, Portrait of an image (with Isabelle Huppert), 2005, Détail © Donation Yvon Lambert à l’État français / Centre national des arts plastiques / Dépôt à la Collection Lambert

Yvon Lambert’s collection was put together as a direct result of the unique and personal vision of an individual driven by his love for the art and artists of his time and his ambition to promote their work. The relationships he has built up with the artists and acquired works (purchases, gifts, etc) are the fruit of a shared passion, an undeniable intimacy with the work and its creator and a sense of profound friendship.

This can clearly be seen in many portraits of the collector, by artists such as Cy Twombly, Julien Schnabel, Stanley Brouwn or Nan Goldin to name but a few, in which Yvon Lambert is portrayed with all of his discretion, self-assurance and elegance.

The collection clearly contains a body of works that are directly linked with a contemporary reflection on the place of intimacy in art and what it can propose in terms of the representation of our relations with space and time and with the community of men and women with whom we compose the collective stories of our lives in the here and now.

Nan Goldin, of whom the Collection Lambert includes a truly exceptional set of about a hundred works, is a pioneer on the subject, his work is made up of series of photographs that come to us in the form of a private journal documenting, what she refers to as, her Obsessions. Each photograph is a story and the sum of all of these images constitutes an immense memory of these fleeting encounters and shared lives within her tribe living on “The Other Side” to quote the title of one of her works in which we hear the echoes of Lou Reed’s lyrics: Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side, I said hey joe, take a walk on the wild side…

Almost all of the works held in Avignon will be presented together for the first time as a kind of fermata to this presentation of works selected from the permanent collection; and they will also stand as a starting point for a third publication in the ‘Cahier de la Collection Lambert’ series (after Sol LeWitt and Robert Ryman) dedicated to the American artist.

For this show the works of Nan Goldin will be associated with those of Jenny Holzer, Roni Horn, Vibeke Tandberg, Bethan Huws, On Kawara, Douglas Gordon, Roman Opalka, Cady Noland, Elina Brotherus amongst others; here Nan Goldin shows us how artists are committed to portraying their own intimacy, confronting it with that of the world around them, inviting us into a collective or universal consideration of the life (or lives) that the artists choose to share with us. 

If these are fragments of worlds or collections of singular beings presented to us in these works; there is no refusal of the universal but more a response our world as it has become since the 1980s, a world in which we turn in on ourselves, settle into our fixed ideas and seek to destroy ourselves and our differences.  If the famous 1970s slogan, “the personal is political”, is to be taken as read, then these intimate tales make up a series of potentials allowing us to consider ourselves collectively, together, in the here and now.

The artists:
Alice Anderson, , Elina Brotherus, Stanley Brouwn, Stefan Brüggemann, Jason Dodge, Bernard Faucon, Nan Goldin, Douglas Gordon, Jenny Holzer, Roni Horn, Bethan Huws, On Kawara, Jo Lansley & Helen Bendon, Louise Lawler, Jill Magid, Bruce Nauman, Cady Noland, Roman Opałka, Julian Schnabel, Yann Serandour, Andres Serrano, Vibeke Tandberg, Cy Twombly, François Halard

I’ll be your mirror
Reflect what you are, in case you don’t know
I’ll be the wind, the rain and the sunset
The light on your door to show that you’re home…
The Velvet Underground, I’ll be your Mirror

Exhibition curators: Stéphane Ibars

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This will be an occasion for the Collection Lambert to publish a third ‘cahier’ (note-book) dedicated to Nan Goldin. Through the considerable collection of her work held in Avignon, in the image of the close friendship that ties Yvon Lambert with Nan Goldin, a photographer of the intimate and icon for a whole generation. 

More than fifty hand-held portraits are reproduced here, like a series of imprints of the lives of cherished beings talking, laughing, embracing, kissing, loving, suffering, crying, dying and living their lives to the full.

Published by Collection Lambert / Actes Sud