The reputation of Arcimboldo, the Lombard painter from the 16th century, can be measured by the success of the exhibitions dedicated to his work. The museum of fine arts in Bilbao has just opened a large exhibit, highly mediatized, even though it only includes three paintings by the master. But they are special since they belong to Spanish collections, of which two called Flora are rarely shown. The heritage of Arcimboldo, that way of creating realistic paintings with motley components, has been kept alive by a great number of artists over the centuries. Today, the most spoken of is undoubtedly Vik Muniz at the international level. But Bernard Pras deserves to be better known. Born in the Charente region in 1952, he reinterprets icons of world art, and he produced in 2003 a surprising Louis XIV inspired from Rigaud, using rolls of toilet paper and bags of potato chips. His Christ of Loudun, created in 2009 at the Loudun collegiate with old rags, faces installations created in Africa using wood, seashells, horns, and grains. The Toreador by Manet, the The Milkmaid by Vermeer, or the Che photographed by Alexis Korda are successfully resurrected with vacuum cleaners, plastic pipes, and rusty hangers, all which could be interpreted as a criticism of consumer society. This book (bilingual) can be looked at as a beautiful series of images, but the reader regrets the texts that accompany them are too short, and the absence of a real analysis of each work of art.
Review published in the newsletter #491 - from 16 November 2017 to 22 November 2017