While Barbeau at the MNBAQ

Tout Barbeau au MNBAQ

Photo: Idra Labrie MNBAQ
Posthumously, the retrospective aims to be a repair before the failure and admitted that the curator Eve-Lyne Beaudry performs brilliantly.

More than the retrospective of the artist’s career — in fact, very well —, the exhibition of Marcel Barbeau. In motion unveils in the margin some of the commonplaces of the history of art The first major exhibition to provide an overview of a career stretching over 70 years, to the end of the years 1940 to 2013, arrives late, admits the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) ; the eclecticism of the production and the advanced-shots of the artist, who died in 2016, have so far given trouble to the history of the item

Posthumously, the retrospective aims to be a repair before the failure and admitted that the curator Eve-Lyne Beaudry performs brilliantly. The curator of contemporary art shows which seemed to be lacking, a common thread linking a practice profuse, presented here in a coherent whole, benefiting from the hindsight offered by the time, and a unifying theme, making Barbeau, a signatory of the refus global, to a figure ” In motion “. The exhibition is the story of a work in which such reading is for the first time proposed.

Tout Barbeau au MNBAQ

Photo: The Estate Of Marcel Barbeau / Ian Lefebvre
Marcel Barbeau, “Rose-leaves”, 1946

The demonstration remains of this classical fact to adopt a progression timeline that shows the periods one at a time, re-evaluating their contribution to the history vis-à-vis other artists who were able to make the shadow Barbeau. From this angle, he was a jack-of-all by choice, which makes him a “pioneer” rather than an artist devoid of its own style. The exhibition tells the story of how he was a forerunner among the avant-gardes of the 1940s, with his first abstract gesture, and his compositions in all-over, very innovative for the time. These last have, however, been roundly criticized by Paul-Émile Borduas, his spiritual father, pushing the Barbel to almost destroy all of them.

From one period to the

Also, the exhibition opens on the 1940’s, to the sides of Borduas at the École du meuble first and in the vicinity of the other automations, intense period of incubation as hatching. Rooted in the” automation surrationnel ” inspired by the surrealist europeans, the gestures is done, released, on surfaces, and then is embodied by various experiments : cutting random, scraping of the material and stains, punctuated with a spatula.

The 1950s are replaced with traits that give rise to works, more graphics, filled with a rhythm undeniable, among others triggered by the discovery of the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen. As with the historical avant-gardes of the early Twentieth century, the abstract language promotes bridges between the disciplines and makes possible new alliances. For Barbeau, the music and the dance will play roles prevalent, such as in the large paintings executed in front of public in the 1970s that are reconnecting the artist with the gestures automatiste. The examples incorporated in the exhibition attest that the interest in this production was more in the very same action that has produced them. Testifying of the extracts of a performance filmed revealing a painter-dancer that likes moreover to praise the artist Rober Racine in the catalog, a tool in the highest quality.


Tout Barbeau au MNBAQ

Photo: Archives Foundation Marcel Barbeau. © Succession Marcel Barbeau
Ninon Gauthier, photographer. Performance, May First, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, may 1977.

The works in the middle of the exhibition, which correspond to the 1960s and the first international recognition, appear as the most solid with a composition of bold, outcome of a treatment formal effective that will give rise to the kinetic paintings. As for the other periods, this production only lasts the time of a grb, as the artist in search wife then other forms, all attentive to the manifestations of the movement, until the media cut, picture-objects, and the “Anaconstructions” of the years 2000, located at the end of the course that is characterized by its amplitude.

The space reserved for this production is generous and made to enter into resonance with the paintings and cutouts of geometric irregular treated solid with steel sculptures painted with the broad plans and open forms which spring. The MNBAQ has on his forecourt a new work 1990 completed in 2018. The gesture is part of a referred to of reactivation of the work of Barbeau, which comes in conjunction with the rehabilitation of his place in history. The latest works included in the retrospective together for a more personal look of Ninon Gauthier, widow of the artist, and, to this day, the one who, as an art historian, has most ardently defended his work. His text in the catalogue claims this intimacy that makes this retrospective an operation, as sentimental as rational.

Fernand Leduc, light

The year 2018 is coming to its end; the year which were variously highlighted the 70 years of the refus global. Among the exhibitions in line with this anniversary, it is necessary to count the retrospective major devoted respectively to Françoise Sullivan, the Museum of contemporary art of Montreal, and Barbeau, both of the famous manifesto. Another signatory, Fernand Leduc has also had its showcase in a remarkable exposure, but unjustly ignored in these pages. Away from the year of the retrospective, the exhibition Catalogue, in the Belgo building, nevertheless recalled with strength the great colourist that was Leduc, an artist enamored of the light. With tact and his personal vision, philanthropist Pierre Bourgie has moved closer to the canvases of the painter with the words of Nicolas de Staël and an Annunciation of the Renaissance, a combination of a large refinement which made capsize the heart and the mind.

Marcel Barbeau − In motion

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, 179, Grande-Allée Ouest, Quebec city, until the 6th of January.

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