CURRENT EXHIBIT/ JURG KREIENBUHL PAINTINGS 1952-1956 -
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“Paintings, engraivings, lithographes”
Exhibition from saturday march 24, 2018
Opening from 2 to 7 pm
To see the text in French and images click on the link below:
Jurg Kreienbühl died October 30, 2007 a few days before we celebrated the feast of the dead, the day after Halloween. Chance or coincidence, the proximity of the calendar does not leave indifferent when we know that the artist had devoted painted meditations on the theme of the passage, the one that leads from life to something else.
Kreienbühl started very early to draw. We know that in 1951, while he was learning to be a house painter by trade, he enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in Basel and at the request of his teacher; he was particularly compelled to the study of drawings.
In 1956, when he leaves Basel for Paris, is marked by a representation of the garden of the Tuileries and met Suzanne Lopata, who later became his wife. Then began one of his first experiments worth as a rite of passage or initiation hen he went to live in a Carcass bus Air France in the heart of the gypsy camp in Bezons-later, the van will play an important role in the artist’s life and facilitate a semi-nomadic inspiration. He remains several years immersed in a strange society that portrays the edges of the capital in spaces that are not yet the suburbs but rather the zone. Rare are the people who frequent this alluvium of misery produced by the big city since centuries: besides lasting friendships, Jurg drew still life’s, landscapes, portraits. Years pass: Suzanne and he settles in Argenteuil (1961), and marry. The enlarged family since 1963 settle in Cormeilles in 1966. We find him in 1968 in front of the landscape and polluted port of Gennevilliers, then in front of Parisian buildings facing demolition in Paris and Argenteuil. Around the same time (1967-1968), he discovers the Seine Maritime. The Tréport and the suburbs of Le Havre: he begins a second alternative of a stage of life, more powerful then the last one, with discharges, its hydrocarbon spills, the Pétrolnymphéas and his alcoholic bums. In 1978 he returns to Le Havre, with his family this time, to the previous themes, adding the liner France, the symbol of travelling, abandoned on a dock.
The early years remaining till now poorly understood, are striking in their extraordinary thematic diversity: including among others, discharges, chicken legs, tree flakes, a power line, a gate, crumpled papers, wilted flowers, ears of corn, and germinated potatoes, a rotten cabbage stalk, carrion, a skull. It is of decay, putrefaction, and the organic agony that is mostly the question. The cemetery of Neuilly, that Kreienbühl draws in 1980 near a pile of residues where funeral waste and the remains of the consumer society intermingle inexplicably disgusting and, frankly terrifying, so that no one knows if it is reality or a vision. In the background, the Aillaud towers, which where the pride at that time, reminding where the society comes from crammed into the graves next to their own trash.The artist explores the dark borders separating life from death and tells us we can not know what happens on the other side of the mirror, but the carrion rotting, the wheat germ, the flower fading, the holy land that breaks, the humanoid preserved in a bowl, the stuffed animal, the cemetery with its garbage, the city that destroys itself, nature that mankind corrupts, monuments in ruins, mankind being destroyed by alcohol and misery, all these themes of the universe, reveal that something happens between when life ends and that of the physical disappearance: a strange metamorphosis occurs. Kreienbühl is not an Eastern philosopher. He means that before that everything ends in a discharge, something happens. The awake, the watchman, wants to tell his contemporaries. The nature of man irreparably pollute, life which is corrupt, the work that is annihilated, the vital space that the litter choke, everything is transformed into a work of art, and thus has a new life; The irreversible decay that he saw before the others, he makes it into beauty. Heir of a long tradition of artistic culture proper in German speaking countries, the work he produced carries the ambition of a thought.
Extract from the text of Jean-Michel Leniaud, catalog Centre Culturel de l’Arsenal, Maubeuge, 2008
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