This exhibition brings together, around the works of Aurelie Nemours, the works of some of her friends. A great abstract and geometric artist of the second half of the 20th century, Aurelie Nemours (1910-2005) was able to unite around her a large number of artists with whom she had many lively discussions on art. To tell the truth, in her quest for the absolute, she met contemporaries like Jean Leppien (1910-1991), with whom the arguments on the crosses were endless, Gottfried Honegger (1917-2016) who supported her a lot, advocated constructive art above all, with strength and conviction. Among the next generation, impressed by this tenacity, as by its commitment to this abstraction, we will find Ode Bertrand, Charles Bézie, Jean-François Dubreuil or even Henri Prosi (1936-2010).
Aurelie Nemours, painter of the construction of the moment, working by themes and series throughout her career, with passages from color to black and white, produces a work that she herself prefers to describe as constructed.
Obviously, she touches the hearts of the people she and her painting meet, few collectors get rid of her works, she inhabits private interiors. Her realizations with very small brush strokes, preferably oil, which for her is a living material, give her canvases a vibrant aspect, reinforcing the mystery and even the mystique of her works.
Jean Leppien, a pupil of Kandinsky and Albers at the Bauhaus, gradually detaches himself from these influences by joining a work on crosses, a path common to Aurelie Nemours and especially towards her famous circles which he calls UFO (unidentified flying object). The choice of his palette from the start is very influenced by his environment, his many stays in the south of France dazzle his eyes, this blue sky, the luminosity of the landscapes, red, green, yellow, end up anchoring him in Roquebrune, where he finds a workshop. There is no systematism in his compositions, nor in the choice of his palette, even if the work gains in reduction, it is no longer the teaching of Albers which predominates but just his sensitivity and his Mediterranean environment. His humor and a sharp eye, made him say of a painting he had made, that he had to hold the wall long enough under his gaze to know if what he had just painted was really a painting
Gottfried Honegger, painter-sculptor, inveterate utopian, early activist, spent his time defending constructive art. Here is what he wrote about his project for a museum for concrete art and Aurelie Nemours:
“You too wanted a place where constructive art is preserved, experienced by the public.
[…] In the spring of 2004, a utopia will come true. The art of creators from all sides will unite to act, to serve. At the heart of this building, there will be a room in which your work will be exhibited.
The Espace de l’Art Concret, in Mouans-Sartoux, this work, you participated in it, you hoped for it, you inspired it. » excerpt Gottfried Honegger Homo Scriptor- Les presses du réel – 2004
From his paintings-Reliefs, his reliefs and his sculptures, emerges a unity of purity and emotion, the delicacy of the movement and the simplicity of the form. Since the 1950s, random geometry has been the essential foundation of his work.
Ode Bertrand, remarkable painter, keen observer, always on the lookout for a conversation on art and its novelties, plunged directly into geometric abstraction, without going through the box of representation. A good school with Aurelie Nemours, her aunt whom she accompanied for many years, she was then able to take the plunge. You have to be relentless to make these graphic works, magical works, with a line pen. As one painting calls for another, while she says she is not comfortable with color, she nevertheless ends up approaching it, muted tones contrast with primary colors. But the form regains control and the series of randomly thrown ribbons, their folds, brings her back to black and white.
Charles Bézie, a lover of numbers, of the golden ratio and the Fibonacci sequence, never stopped looking for the numerical sequence, like a treasure, which best suited his works. Black has greatly predominated his creations, close to Nemours in his work of successive coverings, but in acrylic, is also a technical feat. He is convinced, in more ways than one, that geometric abstraction is a source of harmony and plenitude.
Jean-François Dubreuil’s astonishment at finding himself qualified as a painter still surprises him. However, he followed and discovered with great enthusiasm the works of Aurelie Nemours and Gottfried Honegger, with whom he establishes strong friendships. The members of the Painted Oulipo would probably have welcomed him among them, with his quantitative analyzes of news media. The latter result in beautiful existing constructions (the newspaper grid) often saturated with colors.
Dear Henri Prosi, after your cut-outs of canvases re-glued in reconstruction on the board, you order the line to be more present, the grid is finer and more readable. You magnify his line which becomes a band of color, but you prefer the accident that appears in your latest works. The work in hollow, always the line that appears and disappears in a course all in volume, what a wonderful journey that is, unfortunately you left too early to make us enjoy it more.