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Artist makes stateside at the Museum of Contemporary Art

Published: Friday, September 14, 2012

Updated: Friday, September 14, 2012 18:09

jimmy roberts art 1

Maggie Dziubek

jimmy roberts art 2

Maggie Dziubek

The work of artist Jimmy Roberts is on display for the first time in the United States at an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Chicago.

Also his first major museum exhibition, the French artist's ephemeral collection of pieces is entitled “Jimmy Roberts: Vis-à-vis,” literally meaning “face-to-face” but more often translated as “in relation to.”

The most striking component of this particular exhibit is the somewhat unique choice of medium. The works are mostly images printed in ink on large sheets of paper, unframed and hung intentionally to showcase the unique physicality of the medium.

Some works hang straight down on the wall while most are intentionally curled at the bottom, slightly distorting the image while at the same time bringing to mind the impermanent nature of the paper on which it is printed.

Roberts plays with the idea of permanence versus impermanence in particularly one piece. This piece is cleverly placed within the gallery so that after turning a corner into the room, the viewer is immediately confronted with the piece. At first glance the piece seems to be a cardboard box with white sheets of paper scattered around it.

In fact, the sheets of “paper” are very thin sheets of aluminum painted white to resemble paper. This piece showcases Roberts' interest in the interplay between the permanent and impermanent, a common theme of the exhibition.

Other techniques Roberts employs in this series of work include transforming three-dimensional materials into two-dimensional images by scanning and printing them, paper-folding, paper sculpture, found images, video and performance.

The artist boasts an internationally-oriented biography. Having been born in Guadeloupe, an overseas region of France in the Caribbean, he was educated in London and now lives and works in Brussels.

According to the MCA, Roberts “has exhibited frequently in Europe and Asia but “Jimmy Roberts: Vis-à-vis” is his first large-scale museum exhibition and his first major presentation in the United States.”

The Museum of Contemporary Art is accessible via the CTA red line Chicago stop and is located at 220 East Chicago, one block east of Michigan Avenue. “Vis-à-vis” will be on display on the first floor of the museum through Nov. 25.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and student admission is $7. Admission is free Tuesdays and the museum is open from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Free tours of the museum last about 40 minutes and depart from the lobby at 1 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, weekends at 12 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. and Tuesdays at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.  Visit http://mcachicago.org/or call 312-280-2660 for more information.

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