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Introduction

February 2 – May 13, 2018

An unclassifiable figure of the arts and literature of the 20th century, Henri Michaux (b. 1899, Namur, Belgium–d. 1984, Paris) greatly influenced the artists and writers of his time over the course of his long life. Both a “poets’ poet” and a “painters’ painter,” lionized by figures in both fields like André Gide and Francis Bacon, Michaux feverishly produced thousands of works on paper whose full extent is only now becoming apparent. This exhibition, organized in collaboration with the Michaux Archives in Paris, covers fifty years of Michaux’s creative activity, focusing on his most important periods and series. Bringing together some 230 of the artist’s visual works, documents, and personal objects, Henri Michaux: The Other Side is organized around three principal themes, offering a panoramic view of each: the human figure, the alphabet, and the altered psyche. 

The show emphasizes the formal and material parallels and convergences between these three themes, and reveals central aspects of the artist’s modus operandi, underscoring his constant interest in science, musicology, and ethnography. Some of Michaux’s fundamental series, like the fonds noirs (black backgrounds), the frottages (rubbings), the mouvements (movements), and the dessins mescaliniens (mescaline drawings), are amply represented in this show, which includes works never exhibited before as well as pieces from major national and international collections.

Curator: Manuel Cirauqui


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