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« Arrachages » by César

César Baldaccini, known as "César" is a French sculptor born in Marseille in 1921 and died in Paris in 1998. He is classified in the movement of the "new realism" resulting in 1960 from a declaration of a group of artists among whom Tinguely, Arman, Niki de Saint Phalle, Mimo Rottela, César and which was defined by the historian of art Pierre Restany.

His sculptural work is marked by his numerous achievements in metal such as "the fish", "the bat" preserved in the National Museum of Modern Art. Or "the centaur" place Michel Debré in Paris, or "the skater" place Tolozan in Lyon. We do not present any more his compressions returned in the pop culture by his most famous reproduction: the one which is offered on the occasion of the ceremony of the "Césars" which rewards the best cinematographic achievements of the year.


From 1950 to 1962, César produced a series of works on paper that he called "Arrachages". During a short stay in hospital, confined to his bed, he drew to occupy his time. He experimented with the materials at his disposal, in this case, adhesive bandages that he applied to sheets of paper covered with ink, then tore them up. The adhesive tape would partially peel off the inked paper, leaving a characteristic elongated and mottled "touch".

By their technique, the Arrachages remain in the world of sculpture. César does not draw, strictly speaking, but models the space of the paper surface. This two-dimensional research is similar to an earlier series of sculptures: the Plaques (1959-60).

These sculptures consisted of elongated pieces of sheet metal welded together in a vertical plane. While the Plaques seek flatness through a three-dimensional appearance, the Arrachages find depth in the flat appearance. These are not sketches or works made with sculpture in mind, but truly original attempts to approach the pictorial through the methods of sculpture.


Like all of César's artistic practice, the Arrachages are about experimenting with techniques and materials. Whether it be dilating, compressing, tearing, welding... César develops his own practice, his own techniques, and always manages to create something new.


"Arrachage 1961" is dedicated to the photographer Eddy Novarro, Exhibitions: 2011: Pablo Picasso Museum, Munster, Germany.

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