Art in double

Two Paris museums are paying homage to the American artist Charles Ray this spring. Mademoiselle Lili thinks: Great tennis!

The options are on the table: one, in the Center Pompidou, has no record. The cup, the flower pot, the thermos flask float without foundation. The other, in the Bourse de Commerce, is a solid wooden table on which almost the same objects move as if by magic. One could read it as an allegory: Here a museum of the public, increasingly numb hand, there the privately financed art temple of the billionaire, fashion entrepreneur and art collector François Pinault.

In real life, the opponents are chasing the balls for the best works for their collections, with the tie-break being increasingly decided for the financially more powerful, private players. This time, however, they form a harmonious double – a novelty.

The twin exhibition "Charles Ray" in the Center Pompidou and the Bourse de Commerce is big tennis and the blockbuster of this Paris art spring. Charles Ray made the serve in winter. Since then, his equestrian sculpture made of gleaming stainless steel has enthroned in front of the entrance to the Rotunda of the Pinault Collection.

Not a proud horseman, strutting about his power, as is otherwise known in art history, but one whose face is literally cut in the face by the insecurity of the big animal. It is this sense of humour, paired with a fine emotionality, with which the American Charles Ray has renewed sculpture in the more than 50 years of his work and is today one of the heavyweights in this discipline.

From the tiny egg made of porcelain to the wall-filling Christ on the cross made of paper - Ray's sculptures push the boundaries. As in Gulliver's Travels, the viewer becomes sometimes a giant, sometimes a midget when looking at his works. And voyeur of an emotional moment, the intimate interaction of two characters or a character and its object of attention.

Like the little, naked boy, obliviously playing on the floor with a toy car, a beetle, who magically seems to take complete possession of the huge, circular main hall in the Bourse de Commerce. Even if the battered, true-to-scale reconstructed pick-up truck and the seated paper man with whom he shares the space are much larger.

When François Pinault, who has known and supported the artist for over 20 years, gave him a place of honor on the tip of the peninsula in Venice in front of his Punta della Dogana museum, the Venetians did not find another naked boy so charming: The "Boy with the Frog". ’ had to be dismantled after a lot of noise – they preferred their old lantern back! In Paris, Charles Ray now deserves the big stage, and twice over.

Until June 20th at the Center Pompidou and until June 6th at the Bourse de Commerce, Paris