La Maison Rouge, a private non-profit foundation based in Paris to promote contemporary art, recently opened an exhibition titled The French Spirit: Countercultures 1969-1989. The exhibition that runs through May 21, 2017, is an exploration of significant countercultures and new social movements that emerged over the course of two decades in the immediate aftermath of May 1968 protests and the diverse ways in which they shaped contemporary French politics, culture and society.

The French Spirit: CounterCultures 1969-1989 | Exhibitions in Paris 2017 | Best Things to Do | Urban Mishmash
Raymonde Arcier, Au Nom du père, 1977 © Raymonde Arcier. Exhibition view The French Spirit: Countercultures 1969-1989. Photo © Urban Mishmash, Prashansa Poddar

The exhibition curators Guillaume Désanges and François Piron attempt to question the ideas of freedom and liberty, the two notions quintessentially linked to France: “Here’s an idea: what if France’s ‘beloved liberty’ didn’t actually exist, wasn’t even a dot on the horizon; what if it were just a hypothesis to be experienced in the present tense, a hypothesis whose boundaries need to be pushed at all times.

Proceeding on this hypothesis, The French Spirit explores the significant countercultures – social, political and cultural – that emerged between 1969 and 1989 and how they, knowingly or unknowingly, shaped contemporary ideas of freedom and liberty. More importantly, the exhibition seeks to document how these movements led to the emergence of a singular critical French spirit, wedged between idealism and nihilism with a generous dash of dark humour, satire and hedonism.

The French Spirit: CounterCultures 1969-1989 | Exhibitions in Paris 2017 | Best Things to Do | Urban Mishmash
Coopérative des Malassis, détail de Qui tue ? ou lʼaffaire Gabrielle Russier,
sous-titré « Lʼhistoire vraie dʼune jeune femme, de son histoire dʼamour, de sa mort »,
1970 © Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dole / Photo : Claude-Henri Bernardot

La Maison Rouge

Fondation Antoine de Galbert, 10 boulevard de la Bastille

The French Spirit: Countercultures 1969-1989: Exhibition at La Maison Rouge
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