Jean Carzou — Vision surréelles

Exhibition

Drawing, lithography / engraving, painting, sculpture

Jean Carzou
Vision surréelles

Past: March 9 → April 13, 2013

Titled Visions surréelles, the exhibition highlights the surrealist and fantastical aspects of Jean Carzou’s works and engages an imaginary dialogue with Salvador Dali’s retrospective at the Centre Georges Pompidou.

The gallery presents Carzou’s paintings, gouaches, ink drawings, color pencil drawings, lithographs and sculptures throughout the gallery’s four exhibition rooms. All of the 43 exhibited works come directly from the artist’s studio, with their original frames. The visitors discover that Jean Carzou was also a sculptor. Three wires sculptures stand in the white gallery space, creating a presence that is simultaneously imposing and lightweight. They emphasize Carzou’s signature fine black line, seen not only in his sculptures but in all of his works.

Jean Carzou was born in Alep, Syria in 1907 and lived in Paris from 1924 until his death in 2000. Throughout his life, he developed two artistic tracks: a realist naturalistic path, which one knows best from his depictions of railroad tracks and industrial structures, and the poetic, dream-like path that is the subject of this exhibition. This artistic duality in the manner of Gerhard Richter certainly limited the recognition Carzou received from a public that has always preferred artists with a specific signature. However, this singularity certainly warrants a renewed contemporary interest in his work.

It is likely due to this aspect of singularity that Jean Carzou refused to be categorized within a particular artistic school or group. He is not recognized as a surrealist, but acknowledged that he admired and was influenced by a number of surrealist artists including Paul Delvaux, Giorgio de Chirico, Salvador Dali, Hans Bellmer and Max Ernst. For theses influences, Carzou’s painting is one less of psychoanalytic insight than of fantasy— a reverie closer to Alain Fournier’s Grand Meaulnes. He created an archetype of young slender women dressed in thin clothes and solitary ballerinas in drawings and paintings that convey a sweet sensuality in the manner of Auguste Renoir.
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The artist

  • Jean Carzou