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by Caroline Gaudriault

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Chaos, Riot, 2012.© Gérard Rancinan


Paris-Match have already published their version of Géricault’s painting, renamed “The Raft of Illusions”, their interpretation of Delacroix’s freedom with “Liberty Unveiled” and their image, “Big Supper”, a social simulacrum of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper”. Gérard Rancinan and Caroline Gaurdriault are pursuing their analysis of contemporary society with “Riot”. From the symbol of Iwo Jima, in the midst of a war between the United States and Japan, to the riots in contemporary suburbs, urban revolts are always a struggle for territory and identity. The ghettoes of the major cities, the shortcomings of multiculturalism and poverty contribute to fanning the flames. Twenty years after the riots in South Central. L.A. in 1992, the phenomenon has developed into something global. Art takes revolt on board, feeding the fantasy. Born in poor neighbourhoods, West Coast rappers have given concerts commemorating the Los Angeles riot. After the acquittal of police offers accused of beating up black American citizen, Rodney King, the city was riven by rioting. Twenty years on, rappers are marking the anniversary by using even more riot imagery than ever. They like to take reality and turn in on its head, using social codes which are, a priori, beyond their reach, codes based on opulence and luxury. From 50 Cent to Slim Thug, rap stars have gold teeth and diamond necklaces, wear Louis Vuitton clothes, and drive Rolls Royces with plates saying “The Boss”. Now, having made their money, they are the ones who fly first class and whose business is coveted by the world’s leading luxury goods companies. From slum life to the high life, they are the contradictions of modern society.