ArtAutun is a biennial exhibition of contemporary art that unfolds in two locations in the city of Autun. As with the first edition, the curators are the Belgian artist-duo Renier & Depla. For the 2020 edition they have selected about thirty artists from Belgium and France. The premise is contemporary art, with a number of forays into works by renowned and lesser-known modern masters.
In Musée Rolin, where the main part of the exhibition was presented, the work entered into dialogue or confrontation with works from the permanent museum collection. The rest of the works were presented in the Panopticum, a former circular prison. This was a beautiful space in which the art came into its own, especially due to the rawness of the environment.
All in all, the whole thing exudes a bit of the atmosphere of Watou, not surprising given the roots of the curators. However, the entire entourage around the project is too pretentious in relation to the amount of art that was on display. There were enormous signs everywhere, there was a thick glossy catalog, but unfortunately this pretense was never fulfilled. Ergo, a slightly more modest setting would not have been out of place.
With regard to the art presented, the scent of old-fashioned contemporary art prevailed, quite logical given the age of the curators. The motto says it all: « We want to show what moved, amazed and remembered us in a mysterious way ».
If the expectations had not been set so high because of the publications in advance, it would have felt like a successful exhibition. But then again, the slight disappointment we now felt was more due to the setting than the actual art itself.