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Judit Reigl, the vertigo of infinity

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For its second edition, the partnership between the Gandur Foundation for Art and the Réunion des Musées Métropolitains proposes, after Simon Hantaï in 2019, a focus on early works by Judit Reigl (Kapuvár, Hungary, 1923 – Paris, 2020).

Through five masterpieces from the collection of the Gandur Foundation for Art, this exhibition focuses on the fifteen decisive years following Judit Reigl’s arrival in Paris in 1950. After having endured the precariousness and the yoke of Stalinism that drove her into exile, the young artist met up with her compatriot and former classmate from the Budapest Fine Arts School, the painter Simon Hantaï (Bia, Hungary, 1922 – Paris, 2008). It was through him that Judit Reigl, who in the meantime had passed through the workshops of La Ruche, which welcomed artists without resources in Paris, met André Breton, who offered to present her paintings at the A l’Etoile scellée gallery for her very first solo exhibition.

The abstract canvases of this period are the result of an invisible force, an automatic writing. The artist will never cease to cultivate this heritage of surrealism – tenuous as well as powerful – and to make his painting emerge as gesture and rhythm, pulse, elementary pulsation and cadence.
The two paintings in the Eclatement series, dated 1955 and 1956, bear witness to a painting that gives exclusive place to the body in a fierce battle with the material. The gesture becomes a blow, and each one then calls for the next. A force guides the viewer’s gaze beyond the canvas.

In Centres of Dominance, the force that seizes the viewer is reversed. In this series, which was developed between 1958 and 1959 and to which two of the paintings in the exhibition belong, the paint is projected onto the canvas in packets. It is then stretched with the help of a squeegee, on which the artist exerts a centripetal movement that reallocates the dispersed material – and the viewer’s eye – to the swirling heart of the composition.
In the second half of the 1950s, with these two consecutive series, Judit Reigl transforms painting into a force field. From then on, the painting models the workings of the universe and we are seized by vertigo, by the “Vertigo of the infinite”.

A spectacular Écriture en masse dated 1964 and recently acquired by the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art is a timely addition to the Rouen selection. This painting, part of a suite conceived between 1959 and 1965, also makes it possible to address Judit Reigl’s position on the international art scene. If this work reveals proximity to American (Still, Rothko, De Kooning) and European (Matthieu, Schneider, Hartung, etc.) painters, it also illustrates the independence and freedom of Judit Reigl.

Judit Reigl, the vertigo of infinity
17 September 2021 to 17 January 2022
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen
Partnership with the Gandur Foundation for Art

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Copyright Galerie Dina Vierny 2017