Some living beings in their daily environment
“Some living beings
Gilles Aillaud & Jurg Kreienbühl
in their daily environment”
“I only paint what I see”
Contrary to what is generally admitted, the fate of contemporary art, especially her submission to the “capital remuneration capital of the senses”, was not played as in June 1964 when an American won for the first time the Gold Lion (Lion d’or) at the Venice Biennale, between 1962 and 1968, that is to say from when Guy Debord advocated the “overtake in art” and the defeat of the spirit of revolution. These three events, however, share the same origin: in the 50’s, in Paris, the art world and intellectuals had largely turned their backs on the history of its own modernity, with its bohemian tradition and dissenting libertarian.
In 1965, Gilles Aillaud sums the situation in a lapidary: “we are in the critical situation in which art, no longer thought as aesthetic, lost its essential relationship to the truth”, and he continues: “In this sense, art, as Levi-Strauss said, the status of a national park. Sheltered from cars, large animals, innocent and ferocious, frolic freely in the grandiose reservations of culture. They have strange and sometimes beautiful gestures as the trumpeting in the night. But real life is obviously elsewhere”.
Real life? It is she, of course, that Jurg Kreienbühl, a young artist from Basel, landed rue de Buci in 1956, went out to look on his bicycle the slums of Hauts-de-Seine, where there were “crammed: gypsies, Algerians, Portuguese, Polish, French, dogs, cats and rats”, but also ex-strippers or decrepit prostitutes, tramps of all kinds, drug addicts, hooligans, pensioners mentally retarded or not, veterans reduced to poverty, petty seedy criminals….a zoo, what.
Slum dwellers painted in situ by Jurg Kreienbühl re-joining the zoos that haunt the paintings of Gilles Aillaud. They also share being the last remnants of this life “wild and sincere loneliness”, about to be “domesticated definitively”. “How is the world forcing to advance become such a desert? Art is definitely a thing of the past?” askes Aillaud in a direct echo to Debord’s finding. With Kreienbühl, it seems to me, they attempt in their own way to proclaim, and “things are what they are interested in and not the images”. Sharing the findings issued in 1966 by “members of the Situationist international and the students of Strasbourg”, they strive in their painting, to consider also the misery “in its economic, political, psychological, sexual and intellectual”, proposing in hollow “some ways of resolve them”.
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