Where does the French artistic scene stand as regards to the last fifteen years? What are its eminent character traits? What are its dominant trends? Did nay notable change come about to transform it physiognomy? These are so many questions brought into play by this idea of sketching a “profile” and not a “panorama” of its present status. The semantic differentiation between these two words is quite imposing here. If the notion of panorama supposes a scope and an extent which imply a broadened vision of the situation, that of profile does not make out the same meaning and sooner accentuates the idea of an overview, a digest, following the example of an artist who endeavours to give a thumbnail sketch of his model in an attempt to express its essential traits.
The first chapter of Fernand Braudel’s remarkable work “the Identity of France – History and Environment” published in 1986 bears the title “That France names herself diversity”. As a reply to this precious turn of phase, the exposition “Profiles”, albeit far from being exhaustive, gather some 60 works by about 40 artists, nationals and foreigners, living and working in France, presenting a sample group of contemporary creation merging all trends and styles.
As its organiser, the famous art critic Philippe Piguet put it, this exposition “which intended to highlight a present state of art production as it developed in France more or less in the last fifteen years and what is more insomuch as it is sifted though sieves of public collections” blew like a spring breeze wafting a gentle air from France into the halls of Pera Museum, and gave the contemporary artistic panorama of a country that has always been amongst the vanguards of European Art.