Après la guerre
Laurence Bertrand Dorléac
There is the image of a radiant country, of France totally committed to the reconstruction of a better tomorrow. The image of a country in which the artist contributes to lift up the nation, through the positive and hereditary rationalism of its race. In any case, in 1945, these clichés were very popular, nurtured by the chauvinism of certain critiques such as Bernard Dorival. The author, whose project is backed up by her knowledge as an historian and an art historian, aims at destroying these convictions. By plunging into the post-war period, and referring to «founding» exhibitions such as «Hautes pâtes» by Dubuffet at the Drouin gallery in May 1946 or «Le noir est une couleur» (Black is a color) at the Maeght gallery in December 1946, she shows how the war experience, the experience of death and of the inhuman made many artists lose faith in progress and reason. Many demonstrations followed, bringing back artists who had been too easily forgotten - Bazaine and his tight grids, Wols the «damned», Manessier, Atlan – and other apostles of despair such as Artaud, de Staël and Bram van Velde, who found in informality, in the color black, in poor materials the fodder of their creativity. Even though the book is small, it is a shame it does not include a name index.
Review published in the newsletter #167 - from 25 March 2010 to 31 March 2010