Martial Raysse is a French painter, sculptor and director born February 12, 1936 in Golfe-Juan (Alpes-Maritimes). He lives and works in Issigeac (Dordogne). Son of ceramic craftsmen from Vallauris, Martial Raysse began to paint and write poems in 1948. After solid secondary studies, he chose to study literature while practicing athletics at a high level, before turning to painting in 1945. He began by making assemblies of detritus and various objects presented in Plexiglas boxes. In 1958, he took part in a group exhibition, in the presence of Jean Cocteau. Within a few years, he became one of the most notable abstract painters of the French Riviera and his works reached high ratings as he questioned his career. Fascinated by the raw beauty of plastic, he scours department stores at a single price and develops his concept of “vision hygiene” which involves new plastic objects from the new consumer society: “I wanted a new world, sanitized, pure and at the level of the techniques used, on a level with the modern world. »Success was there: a quarter of an hour before the opening of his exhibition in Milan in 1961, all his plastic works were sold to collectors. He stayed in the United States where he got closer to American Pop art and was part, from its foundation in 1960, of the New Realists movement. Raysse can then be defined as "a painter of modern life". In 1965, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam devoted a retrospective exhibition to him. The following year, with Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely, he created the sets for a ballet by Roland Petit. At the Venice Biennale in 1966, he won the David Bright Prize, reserved for artists under the age of forty-five. The events of May 1968 lead the artist to an important reflection on the nature of the work of art, of which he notably denounces the commodification. On the threshold of the 1970s, Raysse achieved a real aesthetic revolution, quite unique in the history of twentieth century art, and which can be compared to that of the French painter Jean Hélion. He devoted himself to cinema, notably directing Camembert Extra-Douce (1969) and a feature film, Le Grand Départ, in 1970. He then began to “start living”. The aesthetic he gradually implemented from 1972 broke completely with the pop works of the previous period. Raysse devotes himself in particular to the practice of drawing from nature (Un jardin au bord de la Marne series), and revisits traditional genres of painting in the 1970s and 1980s (Loco Bello series in 1975, Spelunca in 1977 and La Petite Maison dans la prairie in 1980 in particular). At the same time, he began to work as a sculptor, first using poor materials (papier mâché, stone paste, kraft paper) then on a larger scale, using the traditional technique of bronze casting. lost wax. Thanks to numerous public commissions, and under the leadership of the mayor of Nîmes Jean Bousquet wanting to combine past and modernism, in the 1980s he created two fountains in Nîmes, first in 1987 with the Place du Marché and its fountain. inspired by the crocodile of the arms of Nîmes. In 1989, he completely redesigned the Place d'Assas and erected two monumental fountains with the statues of Némausus and Némausa, the founders of the city of Nîmes. Subsequently, he created mosaics in Paris, place d'Iéna, for the metopes of the Economic and Social Council building built by Auguste Perret. A retrospective of his work (painting, sculpture and cinema) took place in 1992 at the National Gallery of the Jeu de Paume in Paris. In 1997, the Center Georges-Pompidou exhibited forty years of graphic work4. An exhibition is held in China from October 24 to November 12, 2000 at the Beijing Central Institute of Fine Arts. The Center Georges-Pompidou is organizing a retrospective of his work in Paris in 2014.
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