Iris Clert (born with Athens towards 1917, deceased with Cannes in 1986), is a galerist of Contemporary art of avant-garde, which largely took part in the emergence of the New-Realistic movement. Through its many and spectacular exposures, Iris Clert discovered and makes known certain major artists of the avant-garde of the end of the 20th century, among which Gaston Chaissac, AD Reinhardt or Lucio Fontana.
Iris Athanassiadis was born in Athens about 1917. Exit of a Greek and middle-class family, exiled following the " catastrophe of Smyrne" (massacre of thousands of Greeks and Armenians in Smyrna in Turkey), she lives until the 5 years age in Athens. His/her mother flees Greece. At the rate/rhythm of the maternal exiles, Iris Athanassiadis discovers Vienna and Paris. Polyglot and revolutionist, it engages in Resistance of 1939 to 1945 at the sides of her husband, Claude Clert.
In 1955, it makes the decisive meeting of the Takis sculptor, at the time of a voyage in the island of Mykonos. It is quickly let persuade to open a gallery in Paris. In July of the same year, it organizes its first exposure, Galerie of the High Paving stone in Paris, directed by the Father Valley. Y are exposed two Greek artists: Takis and Tsingos.
Iris Clert opens its first gallery, in February 1956, with 3 rue des Beaux- arts in Paris, and presents to it inter alia the artists Bryen, Laubiès and Asger Jorn.
In 1957, it makes the meeting of Yves Klein and becomes aware of a destiny to be achieved: “ to make spout out the spark which was going to explode this art with its decline, reflection of a civilization which périclite ”.
From 1957 to 1960, she plays a paramount role, at the sides of Pierre Restany, in the promotion of New Realistic. Exposure of the Vacuum of Yves Klein in 1958 to the Exposure of Full the with Arman in 1960, it helps these artists to produce an art of rupture and its gallery becomes the place of experiments and international collaborations.
In 1962, Iris Clert transfers its gallery street from the Saint-Honore Suburb, in a more prestigious space, and presents successively Gaston Chaissac, AD Reinhardt, pol. Bury, Lucio Fontana, Yolande Fièvre and Raymond Hains. It designs the Iris-Time, an artistic review and lampoonist, whom it will publish to the paddle of the years 1980.
In spite of the financial failure of its gallery which it closes in 1972, it acquires Stradart, “the Cultural Heavy truck” (a Berliet truck of which the forage ladder, out of plexiglass, fact office of travelling ogee mouldings), launches out at its wheel in a turn of France and thus affirms its desire to democratize the contemporary art, to reduce it in the street.
In 1970, it moves in a small gallery in stage, street Duphot, in the district of the madeleine.
In 1980, it creates the C.A.R.A.T., Research and Artistic Animation Center Transcendantales, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, last demonstration of its slope for the irony and nonconformism.
Iris Clert dies in Cannes in 1986.
It will have defended, imposed and popularized a conceptual art then marginal, even violently rejected by the critic and the public. The adventure of the Gallery Clert Iris forever taken the marked out ways: each varnishing was punctuated of a police raid, each fixing denounced by the press, each step prevented by the prefecture.
Iris Clert multiplied the festivals and the exposures in its small gallery of the street of the Art schools, then street of the St-Honore Suburb: Microphone-Living room , with 113 artists exposed in his gallery of 12 m2; lighting of the Obelisk of the Harmony in blue Klein (IKB); exposure of the Vacuum of Yves Klein, in an entirely naked gallery, and two thousand guests jellyfishes, invited to contemplate, “ of all their emotional presence “a “ pure space of sensitivity ”; exposure of Full with Arman, with several tons of refuse filling the gallery; organization of a Biennial savage and parallel in Venice, in a palate baroque, then in a boat-gallery; fixing of a giant table on the Eiffel Lathe; purchase of a plexiglass heavy truck, transformed into travelling gallery…
Nonconformist, provocative, Iris Clert did each one of his exposures, each one of his varnishings an event. Its direction of the Happening , its manner very personal to sell tables and artists took part of the evolution of the relationship between artists and merchants.
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