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White Gray Black

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

French sculptor. He started studying architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Nantes in 1947 but abandoned his studies in 1949 and moved to Paris. There he began to collect torn posters from the streets to construct pictorial tableaux, usually by mounting them on canvas. He held his first solo exhibition at the Colette Allendy Gallery, Paris in 1957, and signed the manifesto of the Nouveau Realistes in October 1960, confirming his association with artists such as Raymond Hains. His early work was dark in colour and usually eschewed imagery in favour of fragments of typography. Arts Ménagers: Avril 1958 (1958; see 2001 exh. cat., Paris, p. 27) is typical: a cartoon sketch of a pair of eyes stare out from the centre of the canvas, an area of paper suggests a jaw line, and hints of letters are dotted about. He was disappointed with the frequent comparison of these works to Cubist painting and so he altered his style in the following years, employing brighter colours and more imagery as opposed to typography. In Rue Lauzin: 5 Février 1964 (1964; see 2001 exh. cat., Paris, p. 27) a cartoon image of a boy in swimming trunks appears above the word ‘Colonies’, undoubtedly a reference to the contemporary struggle in Algeria. The arrangement of tears gives the composition structure and dynamism while the coherence of colour and typography suggests just two or three source images. His later work continued his interest in advertising and social criticism, but became dominated by sexual imagery.

Morgan Falconer
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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