press release

If primarily recognized as the painter of black, Pierre Soulages (born in 1919) is also the renowned author of masterly work on paper, whose etchings reign alongside his lithography and serigraphy. A collection of approximately 120 works spanning the 1950’s to present date will be on exhibit at MAMCS from October 31st 2009 to January 3rd 2010, allowing visitors to delve into Soulages’ print work technique by technique, wherein we find the artist totally reinventing traditional processes for his research, notably engraving with etching. In addition, the exhibit brings to light the only three bronzes ever produced by Soulages.

Among the first intaglio printmaking created at the Lacourière workshop (where Picasso, Miro, Braque, Chagall and others worked) and the artist’s recent serigraphy, MAMCS’s public will enjoy an exhaustive corpus of work in which the artist demonstrates an exactness with a tendency to brush away the hierarchy between genres: in Soulages’ eyes print work proves as vital as painted work. Within extremely structured compositions, the engravings and prints use transparency and superposition to touch upon the essential, or the “paper’s flesh”, as the artist describes it.

This exhibit also gives a glimpse at a less well-know, albeit highly interesting chapter of Pierre Soulages’ work: three impressive bronzes, unique to the artist. These were inspired by the copper engraving plates used for etchings, displayed here in their enlarged form. The massive steles are rarely shown works of great artistic force whose presence reinforces the remarkable coherence dominating the artist’s work. Soulages uses black to seek out the light, whether trapped and inflected in thick paintings entitled “outrenoir” or sparkling light reflected in the bronze steles or again blank portions of the printed work where whiteness bursts through.

The exhibition coincides with an impressive retrospective in honor of the artist on view at Centre Pompidou (October 14th 2009 / March 8th).

Commissioners: Estelle Pietrzyk, MAMCS’s Curator; Marie-Jeanne Geyer, Curator of MAMCS’s graphic arts collection Scenography: MAW, Philippe Maffre

only in german

SOULAGES le temps du papier / time for paper
Das Grafische Werk
Pierre Soulages
Kuratoren: Estelle Pietrzyk, Marie-Jeanne Geyer