29 Jan. 2015 — 14 Mars 2015

VANBER – “You are going to see how life is curious…”

His name was Albert Voisin, also called Vanber.

Born on February 22, 1905 in Lestre (Manche, France), Vanber during his life time took great care to avoid the trap of comfort, money, honor and notoriety, but pursued a unique goal: to keep his artistic freedom to be able to express in his work his own truth, his authentic self. And yet….

He could have easily taken advantage of the wealth of his family to enjoy a comfortable life, which he never did. He, who had produced his first “collages” (pieces of papers pasted on a supporting material) as early as the years 1930-1935 and his first works from stripped posters in 1937--that is to say, ten years before Jacques Villeglé-- could have known the height of success if he had only accepted to sell his production and to work with the numerous galleries which were very keen to exhibit his works. To the limelight he preferred intimacy and also the freedom which would allow him to carry on with his creative work.

One finds in the “collages” of Vanber the two main steps of production which characterized his work: deconstruction and reconstruction. In a first move, the artist selected a set of diversified elements that he found in a familiar environment: newspapers, wall paper, candy wrappings etc. In a second move, the artist assembled these elements so as to make them fit harmoniously into the framework of a newly created artistic space. The artist took great care, however, not to obliterate neither their specificity nor their capacity to bear memory to the events. Working truly as an architect, Vanber organized his compositions by relying on the “golden number” and on the theories of color of his friends: André Lhote, Albert Gleizes and Robert Delaunay.

Taking a fragment from any existing body means the destruction of a totality, of a tightly constructed set. Every fragment that has been detached from a larger element is therefore reminiscent of a wound, a break, an abandonment or a loss. This trace of the past embodied in the fragment retains nevertheless its autonomy, and from this newly created entity emerges a potential dynamic. This play on materials through deconstruction and reconstruction is an appeal to freedom: a new life begins.

Through the collection of 30 gouaches and “collages”, this exhibit is an opportunity for the public to discover one of the artist’s most creative and complex parts of his work. These “collages”, which were initially conceived as preparatory works for his paintings, take here another dimension. Indeed, by their spontaneity, by the use of papers stripped out of the real world, by the efficient play on colors and materials-- brightness, dullness, fluorescence, transparence or thickness--they are the most representative of the deep personality of the artist. The intense luminosity of the displayed works is its perfect illustration.

C.M