United Dead Artists

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United Dead Artists
/ Courtesy de la galerie Arts Factory
Tom de Pékin, 'Dans les arbres', 2012

It would be probably be wise to leave any children in your care outside the doors of the United Dead Artists exhibition – perhaps in the comic book library opposite, glued to an old copy of Astérix. Because far from being a wholesome serving of artistic nourishment, the United Dead Artists exhibition is more of a lascivious, corrosive, scatological cocktail. Not really the sort of thing for sensitive souls; exactly the sort of thing to delight fans of the base, the freakish and the disturbing.

This collection of dark contemporary arts is gathered in the pop-up gallery Arts Factory (installed for a few months at the Lavignes-Bastille). Prolific artist Stéphane Blanquet, well known on the independent comic book scene and founder of the publishing house United Dead Artists, has brought together 60 or so talents who seem to be set on channelling all of Jérôme Bosch’s worst nightmares, Magritte’s metamorphoses, and other obscure references from the deviant fringes of art history.

Explorations of the body dominate the exhibition – in all its most grotesque, deformed, fantastical and twisted forms – each darker and more insane than the last. Between the sensual harpies of Namio Harukawa, the retro-futuristic collages of Hope Kroll and the deformed heads, hands and limbs created by Tristan des Limbes or Aleksandra Waliszewska, it’s a veritable cavalcade of the macabre. But don’t be put off: the curation is intelligent, full of quality pieces and, in the end, offers the inspiration and invigoration of the truly ‘underground’. When the road to hell is paved with artistic gems, we can only put our best foot forward.

Practical information

Where: Arts Factory & Galerie Lavignes-Bastille, 27 rue de Charonne, Paris 11e (Métro Ledru-Rollin or Bastille)
When: Tuesday to Friday, 12.30pm-7.30pm, Saturday 11am-7.30pm

By: TB/EH

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