Anne Barrault is pleased to present a solo show of Pierre Moignard, for the first time in her gallery.
This main French artist who had impressed the viewers of the CDM exhibition (Corpet, Desgranchamps,
Moignard) at Centre Pompidou in 1987, had a solo show at the MAMCO in 2010, and has recently taken part in
the new exhibition of the permanent collections of the modern art Museum of the City of Paris.
Pierre Moignard is mainly known for his series Beach and Autoportait (1). The new paintings of the series: Made,
Holyland, Who chooseth me and Suite P exhibited at anne barrault gallery are an important turning point in his reflection
about painting. He has never stopped reinventing his technique, which, from now on, could be characterized as
technical reflection, that is to say configurations made of borrowed elements, which are neither quotations nor
tributes. Whereas his previous, large paintings - Découvertes- derive from the suicidé by Manet, the prostitute by
Hopper and El Pelele by Goya, the recent ones melt into the image of Vegas setting. Did these large collages
(whose backgrounds were done by decor painters) mean giving up the space of depth, “the flesh of the world”
for painting, as no longer believable?
Not in any way. The new paintings are quite different. In the series Made they combine one or two pieces taken
from Manet’s Jésus insulté par les soldats with the minimalist ornaments from Willem de Kooning ‘s latter paintings,
which become a background for this figure. More than painted collages, they reinvent the intricacy between what
is done (painted) and what is borrowed (already painted), and painting invents this unnatural adjustment. Pierre
Moignard paints it anew, and says he benefits from others ‘work.
In keeping with these productive loans, he starts two series of paintings with images borrowed, this time, from his
own films: Who Chooseth Me, Notes for the Merchant of Vegas and Holyland experience2, both shot in the world of decent,
tourist monstrosities where he has spent a lot of time. He does not despair for these degenerate heterotopies
where what is fake reigns and does what it wants, whereas what is true does what it may. He says he learns from
them, because he knows they shape even our daily life. He dared. And the new images of “surface” are as a
Early in 2000, on Venice beach, he discovered the nearly ideal image of human morphology he was looking for,
in the shape of a homeless person laying on the beach: the series Beach3. More recently, in Orlando Epcot Park,
he found, for example, the nearly ideal image of the anthropological mutation of our relationship to images with a
young lady acting as if “Snow White”: Holyland#3. This commitment is more pretense than role-play, which helps
a kind of ethical borrowing, the subject of the painting: Holyland#3.
He found it again with another young lady praying in front of the show of the scenes of the Passion in Holyland
Experience Park- painting: Holyland#4. To paint something of the image of this young girl’s unnatural contemplation
in the heart of the world of entertainment, or something of the vacuity of the character of Snow White is a
Painting these images distorts what is usually believed as genuine. These two paintings: Holyland #3 and Holyland
#4 do not copy the two images of the film. They are not quite portraits; they rather document something of an
empty life in the glaring light of entertainment.
For the series: Who chooseth me, Pierre Moignard has taken an image from the split screen of his film. He “remakes”
and paints the image of Venice Beach homeless Shylock beside the lioness of Vegas MGM Casino. The surface
of the exterior appearance is distorted by the reality of these painted figures.
In a very different way, the lines borrowed from Picasso’s last drawings4 are put in an abstract “background”
already painted by Moignard. It is as if this background was waiting for them. They seem to have found a new
place there, as the title of the painting points out: Suite P.
Collage, painted or not, the technical reflection does not copy; it takes what has already been done, and so allows
a kind of viewpoint on the reality outside painting. If the paintings exhibited at Anne Barrault gallery are all
different, it is not a question of style. Pierre Moignard, actually, thinks art in painting, according to this phrase he
likes and quotes: “art is the book of life”.
1 XIIX beach was exhibited at the Paris Museum of Modern Art in 2017/2018 as well as 48 Autoportait, in 2013/2014
2 Who chooseth Me, Notes for the Merchant of Vegas, 2009, a video film, Holyland experience, 2013, a video film, both from the collection of the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Geneva.
3 Didier Ottinger, catalogue Beach, 2004. The series Beach follows the series Compossibles, exhibited at Obadia Gallery in 1995 and 1997
4. These drawings by Picasso are: the reclining Nude, August 19th 1972, the Nude in an armchair, October 3rd 1972, the reclining Nude October 5th 1972.