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mheu, Historical Museum of the Urban Environment

Study for Susanna and the Elders

Jean-Michel Alberola

Study for Susanna and the Elders - Jean-Michel Alberola

pastel and charcoal on two sheets of laid paper stuck together
41cm x 50cm
Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne - Centre Georges Pompidou
© ADAGP, Photo CNAC/MNAM, Dist. RMN / Philippe Migeat

View this work in the Bathing exhibition

The work

This Susanna is an early collage. Two sheets of paper are stuck together, two studies for a drawing inspired by Titian's Susanna. This combining of two images produces a repetition or an echo that gives the work its uniqueness. In the right-hand image, the elder looks at Susanna, while in the left-hand image the same Susanna is the model for the painter's picture. As the majority of his predecessors had done before him, Alberola is telling us that this story is above all about looking: who is looking at whom, who is looking at what, who is who and who is what?

The artist

Born in Algeria in 1953, Jean-Michel Alberola is a painter who pondered so much on the future of his medium that he ended up turning his back on it. Though he still draws and paints, he now uses other media (collage, writing, neon lights) resulting from Surrealism and adopted by the Neo-pop movement, to formulate a political comment on art and society.