Philippe Katerine at the Bon Marché, or the art of fighting against “awful things”


“No, I’ll never go to the supermarket again / Rather die” sang Philippe Katerine in 2012 (“The banana”). Obviously, he had nothing against department stores. The same year, he had indeed presented “Comme un ananas” at the Galeries Lafayette in Paris, an exhibition coupled with an eponymous book. Ten years later, the fruit-eating singer repeated the experience at Le Bon Marché (LBM).

With gigantic “Monsieur rose” – his Casimir-style alter-ego – suspended in the central space of the store and part of the 2and floor reserved for him, you cannot miss his interventions. The left bank temple of fashion, beauty and chic decor welcomes in majesty the author of “Hello, I am the Queen of England/And I shit you at the ray” (2010).

The sequel after the ad

A diorama by Philippe Katerine presented at Bon Marché

Mini-dioramas made up of small toys, paintings, collages, a few sentences written in a corner, the kitsch universe of Katerine is no longer presented today as a schoolboy diversion – her trademark – of the modern, high-performance world. and virile, but as a gentle and poetic response to the anxiety-provoking and masked times that we have known for two years.

The art of containment

Like everyone else, Philippe Katerine finds himself stuck at home on March 17, 2020, the first day of the first confinement. He tinkers in his corner, steals figurines from his children, draws eyes on ravioli, portrays his little masked family, etc. But at a time when the bombs are falling on Ukraine, our covid woes seem far away. They are from a “before world” that is ultimately not so uncertain…

Photo Ravioli and drawings by Philippe Katerine at Bon Marché

Photo Ravioli and drawings by Philippe Katerine at Bon Marché

Like a creative child on a rainy Wednesday, Katerine transfigures gloomy everyday life with three pieces of string. To this modest struggle, he gives a name: mignonism, or the art of ” see cute everywhere even in ugly things says the artist. Great for ravioli! He also draws (rather well) gentle humans who hold hands and form huge farandoles. We still think of Ukraine. Its small solidarity characters do good.

Derived product

The paintings on the other hand are a bit embarrassing. Did Mr. Rose have to scrape his drawer bottoms to fill the picture rails? His “mignonist” works are no better than those of a Sunday afternoon painter.

The sequel after the ad

“Cute” paintings by Philippe Katerine

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If Katerine weren’t famous, we would never have seen them. He was suspected of dilletantism. He has the right to do so and we forgive him. The lyrics of his songs rarely have more than three sentences (we are far from the texts of Jacques Dutronc or Bobby Lapointe…), but they are transgressive and funny. At the Bon Marché, between giveaways (cotton sweatshirts at 95 euros) and exposed scabs, Katerine – which has become its own by-product – is no longer much fun.

Philippe Katerine at Le Bon Marché, free admission, until April 24.



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