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Michel Houellebecq at Venus Gallery in New York


French novelist Michel Houellebecq is also a photographer. After an exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo last summer at the invitation of Jean de Loisy, the writer presents French Bashing, his first exhibition on the other side of the Atlantic. Presented by the Venus Gallery on Madison Avenue (New York), French Bashing brings together photographs and photomontages taken for nearly ten years.

The universe offered by Michel Houellebecq echoes directly his literary work. Its readers or connoisseurs will find in the first part of exhibition the visual panorama of the peri-urban zones present as Extension of the field of the fight (1994), places where men sleeps. All of this is nothing but transport, passage, evanescence, dreary bedroom communities which the writer describes as “soulless” (Le Figaro). The second part of the exhibition offers a shift towards the kitsch, if not, assumed bad taste, with main subjects the over-frequented tourist areas , and the discounts stores bruising a country landscape.

The carefully designed scenography of the place recalls the first exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo. The writer designed his exhibition as a long installation leading the viewer into sound landscapes. The eye retains the clichés, the bits of sentences taken from his poems, lapidary words and as a final point, a tenacious impression of emptiness. Moreover, the overall vision does not detract from the work. Literature as photography offers to see a disembodied world, pitiful lives, a scathing existence, saved, perhaps, by the irony of ugliness.


Michel Houellebecq – French Bashing

Venus Gallery

980 Madison Av

New York, NY 10075, USA

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