Jacques Villeglé, "Memories", 3 views of the exhibition. © Yves Bresson/MAMC, 2016.
MARCH 5TH 2016 - MAY 22TH 2016
The "Memories" exhibit in the main hall of the Saint Étienne Metropole Modern Art Museum was unveiled on 4th March 2016. Alongside the desired sense of occasion, this exhibition is surrounded by a certain air of mystery. Villeglé is creating an installation for the first time. It will be a unique expression and the details was only be revealed at the preview.
Villeglé recalls with mischievous pleasure how he was present under two guises at the very same museum in 2003 as part of the ‘Figures of Negation’ exhibition: firstly as one of the creators of the Lacéré Anonymefrom the heroic era of International Letterists and Situationists, and also exhibiting is his own right with the socio-political alphabet alongside other young artists who were the heirs to the avant-garde movements.
Jacques Villeglé has chosen to deliberately shroud his "Memories" exhibition in intrigue, keeping us in the dark. As we eagerly await the 4th March, we should perhaps follow the advice of the poet Victor Segalen – a Breton just like Villeglé - who when faced with the dual enigma of Rimbaud said: 'Do not try to understand. Understanding art is often puerile and naïve.'
At least Villeglé has deigned to give us a few hints; he has a perfect understanding of the fact that one of the many facets of a 'feeling being,' is that we can only be truly moved by something that relates to our own experiences.” So he has assimilated the poetic art of Rimbaud for this exhibition, the process of multiplicity of associations 'a sort of personal kaleidoscope with flickering shapes of visual images of the past, his past.'
Taking his calligraphy of the socio-political alphabet and fascination with poetic and typographical research, interrogating the work of 1920’s, Jacques Villeglé inserts himself into a story which brings together the works of Rimbaud and Mallarmé as well as those of Apollinaire and Cendrars, Raoel Hausmann and Baader or André Breton. The metamorphosed signs of the alphabet, enriched by his readings, with the addition symbols he discovered, inherited from long ago, from diverse civilisations to the most banal present day, all accompany the memories of emblematic figures.
He uses Victor Segalen and Tristan Corbière both to commemorate the work of two great writers and confirm his fidelity to his Breton roots. Creating the calligraphy entitled ‘Age is golden’ over the visual emergence of a beautiful poetic image, is a nod to his loan from Rimbaud, another Breton, and also a way of acknowledging the deconstruction method and those that have practised it before him.
As a consummate director, Jacques Villeglé holds true the posture adopted shortly after the Second World War: 'An artist is somebody who at the cross-roads of life, when the spirit is turning in the wind, is at the moment where man, art and profanity, the regular and the secular, the collective and the individual collide. In other words art should be made by everybody and not just by one person.'2.
Curators: Martine Dancer-Mourès, curator of the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, and Carine Roma-Clément.
1 - Victor Segalen, "Le double Rimbaud", préface by Gérard Macé. Explorations. Editions Fata Morgana, 1979.
2 - Jacques Villeglé, 'Un homme sans métier', Éditions Janninck collection L’art en écrit, 1995.