ART ? 002


Jacques Villeglé

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Born in 1926, Villeglé is part of the movement of new realists as defined by Restany in the 1960s. His work since 1947, was to collect blocks of torn posters, he preferred already worked by anonymous hands, and rub them, fit in a frame and sign.

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Data sheet

Format (in centimeters)50x35 cm
Number of colors2
PaperPopset 150g

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I met him in 1988 and we have achieved a first working samples of posters in Lille together with an edition of 8 prints entitled Décentralisation. I immediately phoned and wrote to artists I had the address and with whom I had worked to invite them to respond to ART ?. A few days later, I received a number of projects. Villeglé replied not in the form of a phrase or slogan as I hoped, but a job that seemed closer to printmaking: An ABC-book gathering the letters he reaped on the walls cities, manuscripts by people (just as it reaped the torn posters and the appropriated). He had called ABC-book of guerrilla (urban guerrilla warfare with the letter and the word), with his silhouette proclaiming his text.

In 2000, I wanted to make another work in the same system, so I visited him and I saw several sheets of paper covered with drawings and texts composed using these signs from the alphabet. He explained to me that with his age, he had less physical strength to loosen blocks of posters and now more easily be in a workshop and draw. He who had spent his life using "automatic works," made by the public street, became a "real artist", drawing from his hand. However, the "harvest" in the street is always present in the sense that all these signs came. He started this "collection" signs he now calls the socio-political alphabet in 1969 during a visit of Richard Nixon in Paris and someone had written NIXON with signs like this on a wall. Villeglé then began looking to harvest and classify evidence often used as political symbols, religious, financial and otherwise. This alphabet (missing the J, he never found), he uses them as a wholly typography to feed his compositions of this anarchic or anarchist presence.

Alain Buyse