Zeit Contemporary Art is pleased to present Joie de vivre, an online viewing room that brings together work by modern, post-war and contemporary artists who, in times of crisis, have found visual means to enlighten and transform people’s lives with strength and optimism.
Joie de vivre gathers works whose uplifting compositions capture dynamic forms and figures set in spaces of possibility. These works do not proceed by limitation or elimination to actualize themselves, but rather they repeat, combine, pile up, douse, duplicate, interlock, extend and propel lines, stripes, patterns, forms and figures. These works in conversation, at the intersection of abstraction and figuration, composed from the 1960s through the present, are bound with ardor, intimacy, sensuous modes, and a predominantly warm primary palette.
The title Joie de vivre is drawn from the philosophical concept of Elan Vital (vital impulse), a term coined by French philosopher Henri Bergson to designate the creative tendency of life, which develops through intuition and generates the evolution of beings. In Creative Evolution, Bergson states that when the vital impulse is sublimated, it can spark creative progressions that are at the origin of great creations, spiritual, moral, and mystic.
Joie de vivre gathers these works together, united by the concept herein, to ask the question of how can we as a culture aspire to joy, to rise to be the best of ourselves, when we are so bereft of these qualities in the midst of this current moment. To think about joy right now is to acknowledge our current situation. In the depths of despair, considering joy is a way to find our way back to ourselves and to each other, to honor life.