Gloria Friedmann

Born in 1950, in Kronach, Germany. Lives and works in Aignay-le-Duc, France. 

Gloria Friedmann left Germany for France in 1977. Self-taught and mainly a sculptress, this prolix artist developed an experimental energy in activities as different as painting, installation, photography, performance, and video. The deliberately multifaceted aspect and scathing spirit of her approach combine seriousness and futility, in a language which she has cultivated in a manner that is at once scholarly and comical. Pouncing on a historical genre—the landscape—abandoned by contemporary sculpture, she became recognized in the early 1980s through her installations and performances whose subject was nature, which she reckoned she was “part” of. It was nevertheless on “non-human” nature, the one existing “outside” herself, to use her own words, that she focused, and in particular the acts of violence which she suffered. Works such as Vagues Normandie (1983), made of shattered windscreens, and Paysage d’hiver (1986) stem at once from a poeticization of the lexicon of minimal art and a certain culture of the materials peculiar to Arte Povera. Raw and unconventional forms of matter represent her message, conveying it in a full of imagery presentation, whose ‘existential scenarios’ kindle antagonist forces, without any compromise. In associating irony, parody and incongruousness, Friedmann develops the logic of a naturalist metaphor, by exhibiting pieces of a true nature, the fragments of which she moves about using the procedure of the readymade, the better to reinstate the idea of chaos rather than that of a proverbial harmony.

Chantal Béret, extract from Dictionnaire universel des créatrices © 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque

Catherine Millet: when looking at the evolution of your work, it seems like, at some point, you felt the need to very directly and physically engage with materiality. I have a memory of you in your former studio struggling with a huge clay ball. You seemed like someone who needs physical expense, to work with your body.   


Gloria Friedmann: I like to reflect on what I do and analyze where I am going. But at some point, when I know where I want to go, I just need to grapple with raw reality. The initial idea might be totally perfect, it has no existence. It is only when you start getting your hands dirty that something goes down, and only sixty, fifty percent of the ideal remains… Matter resists. It has its own willpower. You will need to tame it. It is a bit like a fight. If I delegated this part to assistants, as many of my colleagues do, it would prevent me from living this experience, from getting to know my shortcomings, my limitations, my inabilities. I would be deprived of this ignorance, and I know it is precisely what will make me grow. I also like that the work reveals and exposes my shortcomings. Let me give you an example of what I call a failure. When I started sculpting and wanted to represent the human figure, my first attempt was a complete disaster. I thought I couldn’t show such a mess. This failed sculpture sat in a corner for five years until I realized there was something worth salvaging. But I didn’t see its possibilities back then. Time often bears fruit. 


CM: I feel like you often challenge yourself. I think of the way you talked to me of your recent charcoal works. If I understood well, you bought those charcoals a bit like you bought a collection of stuffed animals a while ago, without knowing what you were going to do with them. 


GF: I had no idea how to use them since I never went to a fine art school, but I see this lack of knowledge as an opportunity. Of course, I have some images in mind, which is important not to repeat what has already been done. The challenge then consists in thinking that I will never succeed, and gathering all my strength to prove myself wrong. 


CM: In those charcoal works, the black lumps you call “No men’s land” have something in common with your clay balls. The diversity of materials aside, there are recurrent formal themes and gestures in your work. 


GF: After 30 years of career, I am becoming aware of the kind of themes that interest me: lumps, nature’s quirks, and the threatening facet of animals. I don’t have a Christian approach to nature, which draws a clear line between human beings, animals, and nature. I am part of this nature. This vision is sometimes appeasing, sometimes disquieting. I have been very concerned with environmentalism, and still am in fact, but the truth is: the earth doesn’t care about us. It existed long before and it will exist long after us. We try to preserve our biotope only out of selfishness.  


CM: Your clay sculptures -representing male and female bodies as well as animals, or sometimes only human faces- seem to confirm what you just said? You recently told me that, with these works, the idea was to bury shapes into matter. You added layers of clay on top of one another, making the outlines less discernible, as if the earth was reclaiming its rights. 


GF: It might have to do with a desire to be more abstract, to blur figures in order to underline shapes rather than to create a real image. I like to knead. I like when it swells and bursts. Matter escapes control, and the result will surprise me. 


CM: I love your full-length sculptures of men and women, especially that of the man with the keys about to “open” the exhibition, L’Intouchable (The Untouchable), as well as the woman holding the globe. La Matrix (The Matrix). You said about this woman that she was very powerful, with strong legs, very grounded. She holds the earth, but she is also made of earth. I feel there is something of you in her. 


GF: Maybe… Female representation is more difficult, more complex than male. Maybe I say that because I am a woman. I made a sculpture representing a man sitting on a clay sphere. I titled it Le Locataire (The Tenant). He was given a piece of land and has to give it back as he received it. The woman holds the earth, as if she had given birth to it. Those are archetypes.

Extract from an interview between Catherine Millet and Gloria Friedman.

Solo shows at Ceysson Gallery
Gloria Friedmann, Paris
March 24 - May 14, 2022


Expositions personnelles (sélection)

2022 

Château d'Oiron, France

Ceysson & Benetiere, Paris, France

Musée Orsay, Paris, France


2020 

Partkview Foundation , Pékin, Chine


2019

Re Bon Jour Monsieur Buffon, Musée Buffon, Montbard, France

2016

Musée de la Chasse, Paris, France

L’Abbaye du val des Choues, France


2015

Galerie Mitterrand, Paris, France


2013  

Fondation Maeght, Vence, France


2010

Galleria Bagnai, Florence, Italie


2009    

Galerie Mauroner, Vienne, Autriche

Le grand Sapin, Saulieu, France


2008

Lune Rousse, Musee Bourdelle, Paris, France


2007

Mammalia, Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten, Marl, Allemagne


2005 

Play Back d’Eden, Kunstraum, Dornbirn, Autriche

Mammalia, FRAC Basse Normandie, Caen, France

      

2004

Happy End, Musée d’Art moderne, Saint-Étienne, France


2003

Kunststation, Cologne, Allemagne

Happy End, Museum Küppersmühle, Duisburg, Allemagne


2002 

Diözesanmuseum, Freising, Allemagne


2001

Mehrlinge … für eine schöne neue Welt, Kunstsammlung zu Weimar, Allemagne

Ichlinge + Mehrling, Stadthaus, Ulm, Allemagne


2000

Garden Party, Square Jean XXIII, Maison européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France

Bonnes Fêtes, Maison européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France


1999

Komplex, Quai de la Gare, Paris, France

Numéro Vert, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris, France


1997

Zollverein, Essen, Allemagne

Städliche Sammlung, Augsburg, Allemagne


1996

City Art Gallery, Wellington, Nouvelle-Zélande


1995 

Pour qui, contre qui, Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France


1994 

Musée d’Art moderne et contemporain de la ville de Strasbourg, France


1993

Le Consortium, Dijon, France


1992

Museum Moderner Kunst, Stiftung Ludwig, Vienne, Autriche

 

1989

 Kunstforum, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Allemagne

     

1980

Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France             

Ici-bas et au-delà, Musée de Peinture et de Sculpture , Grenoble, France

Octobre des Arts, Lyon, France


Expositions collectives (sélection)


2022 

Parkviewfoundation, Singapore

La Défense du Vivant, La Défense, Paris, France

Les Animaux Musiciens, Philharmonie de Paris, France


2021

Ex-Africa, Musée Jacques Chirac, Paris, France

Animaux vivants…, Musée de la Musique, Philharmonie Paris, France


2020 

Museum Augsburg, Allemagne


2019

100 artistes dans la ville, Montpellier, France

Artzuid 2019, Amsterdam, Pays-Bas

Disturbing Narratives, Parkview Foundation, Singapore

Nature Humaine, ECS, Lyon, France

Figures de L’animal, Château Meymac, France

Voyage au long cours, Frac Caen, France


2018

The Artist’s Voice, Parkview Foundation, Pékin, Chine

Biarritz 1918 – 2018, Biarritz, France


2017

The artist’s Voice, Parkview Foundation, Singapore


2016

Carambolages, Grand Palais, Paris, France

Musée National d’Art Contemporain, Seoul, Corée du Sud


2015

Kunstsammlung Liechtenstein, Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Anima, Couvent St.Riquier, France

Galerie Steineck, Vienne, Autriche

Take me (I’m Yours) Musée de la Monnaie, Paris, France

L’ordre caché, saison 2, FRAC Bourgogne, Dijon, France


2014

Split second, Galerie Fortlaan, Gand, Belgique

La disparition des lucioles, prison sainte-anne, Avignon, France

Les archives du rêve, musée de l’orangerie, Paris, France

Gloria Friedmann et Bertrand Lavier, Galerie Visconti, Paris, France

Biennale de Busan, Busan, Corée du Sud


2013 

Marseille 2013, Marseille, France

Animalische Ästhetiken, Kunsthaus Kaufbeuren, Allemagne


2012

Bêtes Off, La Conciergerie, Monuments Nationaux, Paris, France

Shanxi Art Museum, Shaanxi, Chine

The Deer, Le Consortium, Dijon, France                               

ART & Press, Martin Gropiusbau, Berlin, Allemagne              

Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France

La Beauté Animale, Grand Palais, Paris, France  

Art + Press, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Allemagne

Marché au Musée de la Monnaie, Paris, France

World as an Archive, Dokumenta Kassel, Allemagne

Domaine de Peyrassol, Flassans sur Issole, France  

Collection Giuliana et Tommaso Setari, Maison Rouge, Paris, France                   

Speaking Artists, Busan Museum of Art, Corée du Sud 


2011

la légèreté…, Galerie Yvon Lambert, New York, USA         

Une Parisienne, Catherine Millet, Galerie Laffayette, Paris, France

Deep Comedy de Dan Graham, Le Consortium, Dijon, France       

Le Triangle, Marseille, France

La République des Rêves, Crac Alsace, Altkirch, France

Monuments et Animaux, Château de Villeneuve-Lembron, France


2010 

Islands never found, Palazzo Ducale, Genève, Suisse   

Islands never found, Musée d’art contemporain, Athènes, Grèce

Dreamtime 2, Les Abbatoires, Toulouse, France                    

Islands never found, Musée d’art contemporain de Saint-Etienne, France

Circuit céramiques, Sèvres, France


2009

elles@centrepompidou, Musée National d'Art Moderne - Centre Pompidou, Paris, France       

Biennale de Moscou Against Exclusion, Le Garage, Moscou, Russie

Le sort probable de l’homme qui avait avalé …, Centre Pompidou, La Conciergerie, Paris, France

Rueckkehr…, Kunstverein Aschaffenburg, Allemagne

Arte Fragil, Musée d’Art Moderne, Sao Paulo, Brésil


2008

Alliance, Do-Art Gallery, Pékin, Chine                                                        

Alliance, Do-Art Gallery, Séoul, Corée du Sud

The bearable lihgtnessof being, Palazo Pesaro Papafava, Venise, Italie

Musée de L’Europe, Bruxelles, Belgique


2007

Contrepoint de la sculpture, Musée du Louvre, Paris, France                   

Les Bêtes et les hommes, Grande Halle de La Villette, Paris, France      

Micro-narrative, Biennale de Belgrade, Serbie

Anjang, Public Art Project , Seoul, Corée du Sud                         

C’est notre histoire, Musée de l’Europe, Bruxelles, Belgique

2002

Biennale de Valencia, Valence, Espagne                                   

Dolce Tocco, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Naples, Italie             

Coolustre, Collection Lambert, Avignon, France           

The Giving Person, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Naples, Italie   

Domicile/Privé, Musée d’Art Moderne de Saint-Étienne, France 

La Force de l’Art, Grand Palais, Paris, France                            


2000

La Casa, Il Corpo, Il Cuore, Musée d’art Moderne, Prague, République Tchèque

Voilà, Un monde dans la  tête, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris, France

Zeitwenden, Museum Moderner Kunst, Sammlung Ludwig, Vienne, Autriche 

Partage d’Exotismes, Biennale de Lyon, France


1999 

La Casa, Il Corpo, Il Cuore, Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienne, Autriche               

Zeitwenden, Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Allemagne

                                          

1998  

Gen-Welten, Kunst-und Austellungshalle, Bonn, Allemagne                           

Vogel der Selbsterkenntnis, Volkskunstmuseum, Innsbruck, Autriche     

Art & Nature, Dragsholm, Danemark

Le Sentiment de la Montagne, Musée d’Art Moderne, Grenoble, France

Weather everything, Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, Allemagne

 

1997  

Empreintes, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, France           

Made in France, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, France       


1996

Transformers, Art Gallery, Auckland, Nouvelle-Zélande


1993

Mirabilia, Château d’Oiron, France

Konfrontationnen, Museum Moderner Kunst, Sammlung Ludwig, Vienne, Autriche    

Kunst im Weltmasstab, Kunsthalle, Kiel, Allemagne


1991

Im Nebel aufgelöste Wasser des Stromes, Museum Morsbrolch Leverkusen, Allemagne

Im Nebel auf …. , Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Allemagne                                           

1968, Le Consortium, Dijon, France


1990

La France Aujourd’hui, Museum Naradowe, Varsovie, Pologne

Von der Natur in der Kunst, Wiener Festwochen, Vienne, Autriche

                           

1987

Documenta 8, Kassel, Allemagne                                    

Monumenta, Anvers, Belgique                                            

Une autre affaire, Le Consortium, Dijon, France    

Landschaft in der Erfahrung, Kunstverein, Cologne, Allemagne


1985

Dispositif : Fiction, ARC, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville, Paris, France           


1984   

Exposition de l’été, Nouveau Musée, Villeurbanne, France

1982          

Trucs et Trocs, ARC, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville, Paris, France

Leçon de Choses, Kunsthalle, Berne, Suisse

1981

Autoportrait, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, France


1980

XIe Biennale de Paris, France     

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