29.03.2024 — 02.09.2024

André Masson, Il n’y a pas de monde achevé

André Masson

Centre Pompidou Metz

Exhibition curator: Chiara Parisi, Director, Centre Pompidou-Metz and Didier Ottinger, Musée national d’art moderne
From March 29 to September 2, 2024 at Centre Pompidou Metz

One of the greatest exponents of automatic drawing and sand pictures, André Masson (1896–1987) was actively involved in, and acutely aware of, the upheavals of his century, both historical and intellectual. He had fruitful relationships with the artists and thinkers of his time, and his drawings and paintings influenced the beginnings of American Abstract Expressionism, forming the best-known part of an oeuvre whose overall power is not yet fully appreciated.

A painter who experimented in new techniques and a unparalleled draughtsman, Masson was also a sculptor, a theatre and opera set designer and an art critic. An insatiable reader with an encyclopaedic knowledge, he was passionately interested in Western and Far Eastern mythology and philosophy. He was also a remarkable poet and writer. The work of this free and rebellious spirit is imbued with the deep conviction that the only ‘justification for a work of art . . . is to contribute to the expansion of human beings, the transmutation of all values, the denunciation of social, moral and religious hypocrisy and consequently the denunciation of the dominant class, responsible for imperialist war and fascist regression’.

To mark the hundredth anniversary of the Surrealist Manifesto, the Centre Pompidou-Metz is paying tribute to the exceptional figure of André Masson, whose liberating thought remains as powerful as ever today. The exhibition will trace the artist’s career, painting a picture of a multifaceted artist, open to collaborations and to the world, incessantly pursuing experimentation guided by the ‘dictates of the unconscious’ and a desire for the infinite.

From the ‘Forests’ that he painted following his traumatic experience of the First World War to the Eastern-style paintings (inspired by Chinese painting from the past) which he produced in Aix-en-Provence in the 1960s, and from his Spanish period to his exile in America, this large retrospective will explore the various aspects of André Masson’s work as well as his close links with the intellectuals, poets, film makers, playwrights and artists of his time.

More than half a century after the exhibition organised by the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1976, the Centre Pompidou-Metz will bring together 150 works, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, periodicals and archive documents never before exhibited from important public and private American, German, Swiss, Belgian, Italian and French collections (including the Centre Pompidou, the Musée National d’Art Moderne, the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice and the Museo Nacional Centro Reina Sofía). Thanks to these exceptional loans, the exhibition will highlight the richness and uniqueness of the man who described himself as the ‘rebel’ of Surrealism.

The Galerie is pleased to contribute to this exhibition through the loan of works.

Centre Pompidou - Metz

1 Parv. des Droits de l’Homme
57020 Metz


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