Michel Macréau

" Alone in the 60's "

We dedicate our new exhibition to Michel Macréau. For this exhibition, we have selected about forty paintings and drawings from the artist's major period, the 1960s.

Galerie Alain Margaron, Paris

From 12 September 2019 to 26 October 2019

From September 12th till October 26th, we will be showing the works of Michel Macréau. For this exhibition we have selected forty-some paintings and drawings from the artist’s major period, the 1960’s, the period we have been engaged in for 25 years.

Following his sudden success from 1961 to 1963 – exhibit at the Raymond Cordier gallery, with acquisitions from such prestigious collectors as the Pompidous (who hung them later in the Elysee Palace), Michel Macréau was left alone, when his gallerist closed shop to take a world tour.

Abandoned, misunderstood, he continued his combat with vengeance all through the 1960’s:

- Combat to innovate, open up new paths like Picasso revealed the necessity;

- Combat to reconcile speed of execution and rigorous composition. Feline, graced with exceptional energy Michel Macréau jumped around from canvases to papers on the ground so that lack of perspective gave place to randomness and spontaneity;

- Combat to make chaotic, even schizophrenic, sometimes brilliant and premonitory forms cohabit, springing from the unconscious, from things seen or observed that he liked (family scenes, villages with their trees and chapels…) or coming from his anxieties (prostheses, mutilations…) In the “Woman in the antechamber” from 1962 and “Couple” from 1964, the horrors of war give shape to the shapeless, a disquieting internal chaos. Badly maimed cripples hang on to their mates. In “Chateaufort”, the prostheses transform adults into automates or frighten a cat.

To help him, his fellow painters wanted him to participate in the exhibition “Narrative Figuration in Contemporary Art” organized by Gerard Gassiot-Talabot in 1965. Instead of helping him, this initiative isolated him even more. Macréau felt completely alone, wondering if his work had any sense. He spent most of the 1970’s in a rest home with psychiatric treatments.

His searches had no immediate political stakes, even if he questioned our identity without taboos (who are you?), our sexuality, and what was to become the gender theory (it is difficult to identify who is the man and who is the woman in his couples) and the ties of marriage…
Macréau’s work undoubtedly has a political and subterranean dimension, but his questioning is essentially existential and remains enigmatic.

It took several decades to understand that his work is in keeping with history itself and with the history of art in particular, between, first Picasso but also Antonin Artaud, and then the Penck, Basquiat, Combas generation twenty years later. The liberty and fluidity of the forms, for example in “the Woman in the Antechamber”announces the free figuration of the 1980’s.

“I find the comparison with Basquiat to be evident” Combas explains. “Certain paintings are very close, but people don’t want to see it. In the past, I amused myself by passing off details from his work – like certain heads – for Basquiat, and it worked”.

We have selected paintings and drawings for this exhibition from the major period of the artist, the 1960’s, and several later works where Macréau once again in possessed poetic style, strength and lucidity.