"L'Art est un sport de combat" (Art Is a Combat Sport), an irreverent appropriation of a phrase borrowed from Pierre Bourdieu, was coined for an exhibition project at the Museum of Fine Arts in Calais. Within the more general issue of the relations between contemporary art and sport, it involves concentrating on combat sports.
As a reference to Rodin's sculpture, it might have been called "The Thinker Is an Athlete". This link between body and mind, this global view, not separate from the being, which hallmark Rodin's vision, would act as a… base for the development of a line of thinking about certain aspects of present-day art, founded on images, forms and attitudes coming from the world of sport, and much used by artists.
If art is a combat sport, and rises above the expression, this is because it has a certain number of analogies with this practice: commitment, tension, confrontation, rupture, among other things. So rather than restrict the idea, the reference to combat sports offered a chance to broaden and show, alongside works explicitly inspired by boxing, kung fu and wrestling, works based on this tense and physical energy, which express as much about the specific nature of art as about the forces at play in combat sports.
Published on the occasion of the éponymous exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Calais, France, from April to September 2011.
Works by Aggtelek,
Monica de Miranda,
Simona Denicolai & Ivo Provoost
See also Une forme olympique – Sur l'art, le sport, le lieu