Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55

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The Independent Online
'I see my landscape as a marriage between the conceptual and the concrete. Here are the forms of the earth, the terrain under your feet, the landscape which is everywhere: under that table, in this can of turpentine.' Dubuffet pointed at the little figures, part-animal, part-mineral, that he sees in his reliefs; shapes which are at first as faint and later as dominating as those recognised in clouds or cracks in the ceiling.

'These are the matrix of life, they are the metamorphosis of ooze to cells. This one, lying stretched out, already has eyes, it spreads its arms. That little one crouches, attempting to rise. It is inert matter thinking about becoming alive.' And you recall that the very

material of which these reliefs were made has a sort of life - shrinking, swelling, wrinkling in its rapid stages of drying.

From 'Dubuffet Paints a Picture' by Thomas B Hess, in Art News (New York) May 1952

Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55 at the Tate Gallery until 5 September.

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