Works Presentation Artists Press Download

For the first time since its creation, in 1955, the Lara Vincy gallery is showing an exhibition by an artist who is no longer among us : Gil J Wolman (1929-1995), to whom it has been linked as much through work as through the bonds of friendship throughout the years.

Currently the Contemporary Art Museum in Barcelona (MACBA) is putting on a retrospective of his works through January 9, 2011, which will then be shown in the Serralves Foundation in Porto from February 11 through May 1, 2011.

We wanted to show, thanks to this exhibition and before our participation in Artissima, in Turin from 5 through 8 November, (Back to the future – one-man show Wolman), the constantly renewed creativity of his œuvre, whose full impact is nowadays shown by re-reading the post-war avant-gardes’ history. He is nowadays acknowledged by an increasing number of art world personalities – scholars, curators, writers, artists – as one of the most original artists of his generation.

The exhibition’s title Works 1961-1982 covers the period of the works on display: from the Lettrist paintings ( 1961-63), the Scotch art (since 1963), the Separatist movement (1977-80), the Decomposition (1980), W La libertà (1982) and other works hitherto unseen.

“Wolman’s artistic life. Born in 1929. Paris. Met several people, took part in a few shows, made a few things”: thus did he modestly sum up his artist’s life, which was in fact amazingly rich.

If, when he was very young, he was linked with movements such as Lettrism with Isou, Dufrêne, Brau … from 1950 through 1952 and to the Internationale Lettriste that he founded with Guy Debord in 1952, from the very start, he stamped on it his very personal approach.

In 1950, he created mégapneumie, a physical poem based on breath, where consonants and vowels are disassociated ; in 1951, he made L’Anticoncept, a revolutionary 35mm film, where image and sound were totally autonomous. The image, projected in spurts on a helium balloon, contains a visual rhythm by alternating black and white, the sound track being heard in differing vocal registers. These two creations were the fore-runners of the concept of separation, very present in his work from 1977 onwards. At the time, the film was banned by the censors for unknown reasons. In 1956, he co-authored with Guy Debord the Mode d’emploi du détournement in Les lèvres nues n°8. He practiced this in the series of texts of 1956: J’écris propre carried out with scissors and glue, a technique that foreshadowed Gysin and Burroughs’ future Cut-ups. That same year, he represented the Internationale Lettriste in the first congress of free artists in Alba (Italy) where he met up with Jorn and Pinot-Gallizio.

After his exclusion from the Internationale Lettriste in 1957 by Debord and his lapidary reply “L’un n’exclut pas l’autre” (One does not preclude the other), he carried on with his personal experiments: Lettrist paintings in 1961/63 where often illegible writing overtook the painted surfaces – a hypothetical sculpture in the Small Bronze International Salon in Paris and Liquid paintings in 1962 – some ‘Scotch art’, a technique he developed in 1963, that involved bands of texts printed by means of adhesive tape and transposing them onto various supports: wood, canvas, Plexiglas, aluminum and that he continued until the formula for making scotch tape changed, making transference impossible.
Portraits de poches in 1974, works made thanks to a photocopier, that he was one of the first to use as an artistic tool. The separatist movement in 1977 “that consists in introducing a space inside a limited surface”. Thus, he cut up paintings, money, photos or reproductions – including his own portrait.

In 1979 came Duhring Duhring: a journal in 64 black and white pages published in the Editions Inconnues (the artist’s publications) and made up of faces, separated vertically and crossed on the point of horizontal separation by a concept anarchy, authority, principles, etc…

In 1980, La décomposition: of an assemblage of slides that each one contained an image and a text. In 1982, W la libertà, fragments of texts cut up and caught between two sheets of Plexiglas.

There followed radical experiments on the concept of time and of memory, the Peintures dépeintes in 1991, in which he separated the subject from the canvas. Voir de mémoire on February 20, 1995 in the Centre Pompidou, an invitation to remember Schwitters’ works by looking at the notices after the taking down of the Kurt Schwitters retrospective.