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French Artist Dies at 96 – ARTnews.com


Jacques Villeglé, an artist whose work made use of torn posters noticed on the road which have influenced generations of French artists, has died at 96.

The Paris-based Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois, which represents Villeglé, introduced the artist’s demise in a assertion posted to social media on Tuesday. The gallery remembered him as “working hard, smiling always.”

Villeglé was the final residing determine related to Nouveau Réalisme, a French avant-garde motion of the late Nineteen Fifties and early ’60s that sought a complete merger of life and artwork. Its progenitors—amongst them César, Arman, and Niki de Saint Phalle—typically made use of business objects and promoting, which they eyed with suspicion, whereas additionally bringing the visible language of Abstract Expressionism to the on a regular basis.

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Villeglé’s main mode of expression throughout that period was the exhibition of ripped and distressed posters that he had noticed in Paris. He termed this observe décollagisme, though he was not typically the one who did this tearing—that was the work of passersby, who had been left nameless.

He described his works from this period as “a whole repertory of rips, scratches, slashes, scrawls, smears, gashes, gougings, abrasions, inscriptions and over-pastings.”

Often, there was an explicitly political dimension to all this. In 1961, Villeglé made Carrefour Algérie-Evian, which exhibits an advert for bottled water subsequent to signal expressing assist for Algeria in its conflict for independence. The work was a pun: Evian was each the identify of a water firm and the city the place negotiations for a peace treaty between France and Algeria had been beginning that yr.

“What makes them more than that is their strange, allusive poetry: a poetry of chance and everyday life,” critic Michael Kimmelman as soon as wrote within the New York Times. “They’re reminders of the value of keeping one’s eyes open.”

Born in 1926 in Quimper, France, Villeglé initially began out making sculptures utilizing junk discovered on the seashores of Saint-Malo. During the late ’40s, Villeglé linked up with the artist Raymond Hains, who grew to become a detailed pal, and the 2 stumble on décollagisme. Some of their preliminary experiments, with their emphasis on appropriated and collaged textual content, have been linked to the Lettrist motion.

Following the uprisings of May 1968, Villeglé started to deal with what he termed a “sociopolitical alphabet,” or a language system constructed utilizing closely stylized letters with leftist underpinnings (an A formed just like the image for anarchism, for instance). He additionally continued to provide décollagiste works, counting on commercials for musical occasions for one collection, though on this case, Villeglé himself tore the commercials versus folks on the road.

During the ’60s, Villeglé’s work gained some visibility exterior France, having been included within the legendary 1961 “The Art of Assemblage” present on the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Still, he stays a lot better-known inside his residence nation than he does anyplace else. In 2008, the Centre Pompidou in Paris staged a retrospective of his work.

“Thanks to the almost exclusive use of torn posters, this pioneer of urban art leaves an abundant body of work of astonishing formal richness,” the Centre Pompidou wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.




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