“Salon des Refuses” is French for “exhibition of rejects”.
It was coined in Paris in 1863 after artists began to protest the restrictive and competitive nature of the selection of work for the annual Salon (gallery).
Artists were constantly rejected from the “official” exhibition because their work was deemed too subversive or avant garde by the stuffy Salon jurors.
The uproar sparked a decree by Napoleon Bonaparte that rejected artists could exhibit in an alternative Salon, giving the public the opportunity to view them in a rival exhibition, and so a tradition was born. The Salon was also credited with giving the impressionist movement its first break.
The Fig Group is embracing a similar spirit, creating a modern-day Salon des Refuses showcasing more than 25 pieces that narrowly missed out on being finalists in the Black Swan Prize at all three Fig cafes (Pickled Fig, Naked Fig, Wild Fig).
The Fig Group partnered with WA’s biggest portraiture prize to display portraits in what it jokingly calls the “second prize exhibition”.
“These pieces are the ones that didn’t quite make it, but they are of such a high standard that we wanted to exhibit and appreciate them,” Fig co-owner Greer Marns says.
The Pickled Fig in South Freo will display Black Swan Youth Prize entrants, showcasing budding young WA talent.
“We have always supported local artists, and this is a chance to showcase some great pieces which otherwise might not of been seen by the public,” Ms Marns says. Running with the “no more starving artist” theme, the Fig is running a “remake” competition that encourages people to recreate one of five famous portraits, the winner scoring a free meal at any of the Fig venues every day for a year. The exhibition is running till October 14.
by SOPHIE MITCHELL