Deliciously Aesthetic

The image shows various fruits painted in a realistic manner. The centre of the image shows green grapes and an ananas, around them plums and a peach are arranged. The fruit is placed on a red marble board. It is a painting by Jan-Frans van Dael.
Jan-Frans van Dael, Pineapple, grapes, plums and peach on a red marble ledge, 1819 © Cabinet Turquin.

Tutti Frutti
June 8 – 18, 2023
Galerie Sainte Anne

30 degrees Celsius, Galerie Sainte Anne provides refreshment. Tutti Frutti. A new harvest on the classics is what the name promises: an experimental, juicy reinterpretation of the fruit still life. The exhibition combines the 15th century with the contemporary, and religious with conceptual gestures. 

On the ground floor of the gallery six works, dated between 1640 and 2023 give the character of an intimate separée. Maya-Inès Touam’s Retable, Délices du temps is a table altar in the style of Jan van Eyck. The photographic still life shows fruits, flowers, goblets, and textiles hanging from the upper edge of the picture. Alongside these classic tropes are African masks, a cotton bush, an Arabic lemonade bottle and a Louis Vuitton-patterned rugby ball, presented à la Fabergé. The picture is strangely empty, the pageantry comes locally.  

Maya-Inès Touam’s practice is based on her experience as the granddaughter of Algerian immigrants in France. Her work addresses aspects of both cultures and questions of migration. The works in Tutti Frutti reflect upon the motif of travel and displacement. The rugby ball and the lemonade seem strangely placeless, the masks displaced in the literal sense. The wealth depicted seems lifeless and arbitrary, on the outside panels of the altar the flowers are withered. Wealth is insignificant, or: memento mori.

Opposite, the splendour takes a different form: Pineapple, grapes, plums and peach on a red marble ledge by Jan-Frans van Dael shows fruit in best form. The still life on white marble is a rare work by the Belgian painter. Famous for his opulent floral still lifes, he was a favourite of the Empress Josephine Bonaparte. His fruit arrangement seems freshly draped, the pineapple with a stem is a sign of wealth. As is the painted red marble on the white stone.  

The image shows two boxes hanging on a wall. the left box has a white-  and brown striped front, the right box a net through which one can see an object resembling a terra-cotta glass and a snail's shell. It is an art work by Mateo Revillo.
Mateo Revillo, Reliquaire, Citron, verre et escargot, 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Sainte Anne, Paris.

Panfilo Nuvolone’s Still life with two apples and lemon is the modest counterpart. The three fruits lie subtly in space, the brown of the background recalls an earthy landscape instead of marble. The style of the painting is reminiscent of Roman frescoes or Paul Cézanne, the calmness of the depiction conveys intimacy and emphasises the character of the exhibition space. 

The upper floor goes three-dimensional: Anastasia Finders’ installation is an exuberant event for the eyes and senses. The colourful fabric panels, glass and metal goblets, flowers and fruits form a real-life version of the painted works from the ground floor. The peaches are fragrant, the fly flies, the cherries show first signs of decay. Can’t touch this! “Swoosh” by Artur Silva is a non-definable object somewhere between beach game, exotic plant, lemon net and feather duster. The work is part of the series of the same name, which reflects on trade routes and changing production models between Europe and China. Despite its serious subject: this work is fun! 

Like the classical still life, the exhibition is infused with religious motifs. Mateo Revillo’s Sacra Conversazione combines the print of a depiction of Mary, with megaphone, cardboard box and snail shell. The originally “sacred” gesture is reduced to absurdity through the juxtaposition of the diverse objects; the snail and megaphone complement each other like Mary with the Saints and the cardboard box. The effect is at once ironic, aesthetic, and philosophical. Revillo’s Reliquaire, citron, verre et escargot, resides between personal reliquary, conceptual art, and kitchen shelf, and combines mysticism with the profane.  

The image shows abstract forms resembling a landscape with a hill and various dwellings on it. The forms in the lower part of the picture are two ochre-tones, the upper part bears a purple-blue. It is a painting by Manuel Stehli.
Manuel Stehli, Untitled (hill at night 7), 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Sainte Anne, Paris.

Tutti Frutti is Galerie Sainte Anne’s first exhibition dedicated to painting. The highly diverse interpretations continue the progressive gesture of the gallery’s previous shows. Versatile and fun, aesthetic and sophisticated: A fresh harvest on the classics. 

Entering and exiting the gallery, two landscapes by Manuel Stehli frame the exhibition. The shapes in Untitled (hill at night 7) and Untitled (hill at 8) resemble sand hills with simple dwellings and repeat the motif of the journey, the paintings’ brown tones correspond with Panfilo Nuvolone’s still life in the back of the room. The necessary rest after a tutti frutti summer day. “Summer days drifting away/ To, oh, oh, the summer nights”.

This article was first published in German on June 13, 2023, on