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RAPHAËL DENIS

 
 

Raphaël Denis (b. Paris, 1979) lives and works in Paris and Brussels.  Using a conceptualist approach to making art, Denis uses history, in general and, art history, specifically, in his latest series to document the plunder of Jewish property during the Second World War.  In 2014, Denis began to gather information on the nearly 20,000 artworks that passed through the Jeu de Paume in Paris.  Each of the late 19th century frames (found in a Belgian flea market) corresponds to the dimensions of one of the plundered works in question.  The frame holds a black monochromatic board which is signed in pencil with the identification number assigned to each piece by the Nazi administration.  On the back, is a black and white photograph of the selected work with corresponding technical and historical details. 

“As a whole, the installation forms an imaginary and fragmentary re-staging of the storage of this poignant “war chest.”  La Loi Normale des Erreurs, was first exhibited at the Picasso Museum in Paris in 2015, accompanied by the recently restituted 1918 painting, Portrait of Madame Rosenberg and her Daughter, by Pablo Picasso.  Hand-tailored variations on the theme have been since exhibited at the Berggruen Museum in Berlin (2018) and the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2019).

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©2020 by Dianne Beal