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A very special catalogue on Figuration Libre

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The year 1982, the exhibition …l’Air du Temps….location Galerie d’Art Contemporain Nice….the artists… Alberola, Blanchard, Blais, Boisrond, Castellas, Combas, Denis, di-Rosa, En avant comme avant, Favier, Gainon, Giard, Laget, Lanneau and Rousse.

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All artists were member of the FIGURATION LIBRE group and have gained world fame in the decades after this exhibition. What makes this catalogue special is that it is the only copy currently available on the market and from an art historical point of view. It presents these artists for the first time together in one of the major museums for modern art. Beside that a text is written by Ben Vautier ( Fluxus) who was and is an admirer of the Figuration Libre. This i the only copy i have available and it is very special , since the condition is excellent and it is dedicated to Riekje Swart who was the first to present these Figuration Libre artists in the Netherlands.

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a very special “Libro d’Artista” from 1983 by Hervé di Rosa

It is a rare find to have found this 2 months ago. This is a book which was published during the best years of the “Figuration Libre”. This special artist book was published in an edition of only 1000 copies . I doubt that it was an authorized edition which was published by Fernando Pellegrino and Saverio Perozzi, but there is no doubt about the artistic quality that oozes from the pages. Quick sketching and written text in print, making a complete story on 92 pages.

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On the cover an auto portrait of Di Rosa and page after page filled with typical Di Rosa art. My guess is that not too many copies will have survived the 36 years of its existence, which makes this one of the most collectable Di Rosa publications and an absolute MUST for the avid “Figuration Libre” collector/ enthousiast.

 

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Hervé Di Rosa (1959)

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Di Rosa is the artist from the LIBERATION LIBRE group who arguably has been influenced the most by the original comic art from the previous French decades in comics. He even published some comics on his own. A bit like Raymond Pettibon also publishes his own comics. In an interview he tells the following to the interviewer:

“The great names in comics have affected me every bit as much as the great painters I love.” Growing up in the 1960s, relatively isolated in Sète on the French Mediterranean coast, Hervé Di Rosa got his culture fix from reproductions of fine art in books and from comics. “I saw no difference between them in scale or validity.” Starting to exhibit his art in 1980, Di Rosa with his brother Richard and Robert Combas drew on their passions for both art and pop culture to pioneer the radical French ‘Figuration Libre’ movement in the 1980s. Unlike most earlier Pop artists, who were not necessarily raised on comics, Di Rosa explains, “I don’t cite comics in a superficial way, I incorporate their techniques into my work.”

Personally i think the works by Di Rosa are too much like comics. I prefer the Combas works with the heavy outlines around his subjects , making his works stand out and recognized instantly. Still the Groninger Museum liked Di Rosa his works so much that they devoted a nice exhibition on Di Roda and published ” LES AVENTURES DE HERVE ET RICHARD ” in 1986. This and other Di Rosa publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Figuration Libre

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This week several blogs on “Figuration Libre” . It is the french counterpart of the mouvement which was led by haring, Scharf and Basquiat in the US, b ut with a difference, because , in my opinion, The Europeans? French were influenced by comis art from the Sixties and Seventies. The US artist did not have this legacy but invented a kind of street art on their own. Artistically more important but in many cases less pleasing to the eye.

Figuration Libre (“Free Figuration”) is a French art movement which began in the 1980s. It is the French equivalent of Bad Painting and Neo-expressionism in America and Europe, Junge Wilde in Germany and Transvanguardia in Italy. Arists in the movement typically incorporate elements of comic book art and graffiti into their work. They use bright colors and exaggerated, caricature-like figures.

The group was formed in 1981 by Robert Combas, Remi Blanchard, François Boisrond and Hervé Di Rosa. The term ‘Figuration Libre’ was coined by Fluxus artist Ben Vautier. Other figures include Richard Di Rosa and Louis Jammes. Between 1982 and 1985, these artists exhibited alongside their American counterparts Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Kenny Scharf in New York City, London, Pittsburgh and Paris.

Figuration Libre (Free Figuration) can be translated as “Free Style”.

Of course there is a reason to devote these blogs to Figuration Libre. I have acquired a small collection of important books by these artists which is now for sale at www.ftn-books.com