Report on the exhibit dedicated to the drawings and engravings of Pierre Alechinsky, the printer and painter, at the Bibliothèque Nationale of France. The artist comments on a selection of his work with humour.
The Belgian painter with a prolific imagination, Pierre Alechinsky (1927, Brussels) has learned to appreciate collective work from his numerous encounters. Trained at the School of Architecture and Decorative Arts in Brussels where he learned illustration, printing and photography, he discovered the work of Michaux, Dubuffet and the surrealists in 1945 and befriended the art critic Jacques Putman. Four years later he met Dotrement and joined the CoBrA group which brought together Karel Appel, Pol Bury and Asger Jorn with whom he was particularly close.
Alechinsky thus developed a fantastic bestiary and a lightning stroke, spontaneous in portions of bright colours like venom spat on the canvas. He cast himself in the poetic wing of CoBrA, mixing writing and imagery. In the 1950s He worked with the Chinese painter Wallace Ting, travelling to Japan then to New York. This brought the introduction of calligraphy and action painting to his creations. Alechinsky painted chaotic shapes on the ground and traced narrative motives in China Ink on his frames, that he calls paintings with"marginal remarks".
As much a writer, he has published numerous books and with an often ferocious humour has illustrated texts by Michel Butor, Cioran and Tardieu.