Walt Disney Productions is a new exhibition at London's Kamel Mennour gallery of the acclaimed French artist Bertrand Lavier, featuring his 1984 series that began quite literally with a Walt Disney cartoon published in Le Journal de Mickey under the French title Traits très abstraits (a play on words meaning literally “very abstract lines”), which told of Minnie and Mickey’s visit to a modern art museum.
Bertrand Lavier isolated the narrative’s paintings and sculptures and enlarged them to the presumed format. In so doing, he short-circuited the circuit of representation by making tangible (raising to the status of art) that which until then was merely décor and fiction. The photographic paintings and sculptures made from this cartoon are now destined to float in an undecidable space in that they retain the form of their original “territory” though they have actually left it behind.
They are not the enlargement of drawings with modern art for subject, but perfectly iconic paintings and sculptures that embody a certain doxa of modernity. Bertrand Lavier’s translation brings to light a repressed dimension of reproduction, which reaches beyond stereotype to attain a form of universality. In this respect, Walt Disney Productions is more than an ironic commentary on art a told to children; it reminds us, as the artist says, that “it is the virtual world that enables us to approach a deeper reality."
Walt Disney Productions runs until 7 April 2018 at Kamel Mennour gallery, Brook Street, London W1K 4HR. The gallery is open Monday to Saturday between 9 am and 5.30 pm.