Gérard Jean Gartner
25 Jan – 6 Apr 2024
After his last exhibition, ULTIMA VERBA at the Kai Dikhas Gallery in 2015, the French artist and manouche Gérard Gartner destroyed his entire artistic oeuvre in a performance under the same name. In his eyes, each generation should create its own art and shape its own world. Filmmakers Eric Premel and Marine Blanken follow the artist during his exhibition in Berlin and especially in his French homeland and document the destruction, Gérard's art and philosophy in an impressive documentary film.
For everything there is a time. One to be born and one to die. One to plant, one to uproot. A time to build and a time to tear down. Powder and everything returns to powder. Better the end of a thing than ..." it begins..."
Gérard Gartner, 88, sculptor, has a torch in his head. A gouailleur and philosopher, he organises the final withdrawal of what has built him up to release the material. A film about Roma culture, boxing, loyalty, Giacometti and rubbish dumps, the superhuman and anarchy; a film that tells of death and, above all, of life.
In addition to the film premiere, we are opening our new exhibition ULTIMA VERBA with the artwork that Gérard Gartner donated to the Kai Dikhas Collection in 2015 and with documentary photographs by French photographer Jeannette Gregori, which are new acquisitions by the foundation for the collection. In her series on Gérard Gartner, she photographed the artist, and in particular his performance Ultima Verba in Douarnenez.
Gérard Gartner, also known as Mutsa (Romanes for cat), was born in Paris in 1935. In his chequered life, he was a successful boxer, political activist and, among other things, bodyguard to the French Minister of Culture André Malraux. Gartner is a writer, anarchist, curator and artist. He was a companion of the most important author of the French Manouche, Mateo Maximoff, who entrusted him with his personal notes, making him his biographer. Gartner is a co-founder of the Tzigane initiative, an important self-organisation of the French Manouche. Gérard Gartner became an artist as a result of his encounter with Alberto Giacometti. Between 1985 and 2015, he created an extensive oeuvre of powerful and delicate abstract sculptures made from melted plastic industrial waste. The works are labelled and numbered as D.I.R. (Déchets Industriels Recyclés), i.e. recycled industrial waste.In 1985, together with the poet Sandra Jayat, he curated the "1st World Exhibition of Roma Art" at the Conciergerie in Paris, organised by the Tzigane initiative, of which he was president at the time. Gartner can therefore be described as a pioneer of contemporary art by Sinti and Roma. His works were exhibited worldwide until Gartner destroyed his entire oeuvre after the Ultima Verba exhibition at the Kai Dikhas Gallery on 16 January 2016, marking the 50th anniversary of the death of his friend Alberto Giacometti. After he sent the material for plastic recycling as granulate.
Jeannette Gregori was born in 1967 and lives in Strasbourg. She studied photography at the University of Fine Arts in Indiana, USA, and at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg (now HEAR). In the summer of 2009, chance and curiosity led her to a community of Manouches who had settled along a country road in Alsace. Since then, her photographic work has never ceased to portray the dignity of these families through scenes of their lives and to defend their humanity against prejudice. The photographer has exhibited several times at the former Kai Dikhas gallery. Some of her photographs have been published by Edition Kai Dikhas. Gregori is a long-time friend of Gérard Gartner.
The film will be shown:
Ultima Verba :documentary film
Director: Éric Premel and Marine Blanken
Script: Éric Premel and Marine Blanken
Production: Les 48° Rugissants Productions
France 2017, 64min, colour
In French language with English subtitles.