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mheu, Historical Museum of the Urban Environment

Volcano Described

Pierre Alechinsky

Volcano Described - Pierre Alechinsky

50cm x 66cm
Galerie Baltazar, Brussels

View this work in the Fire exhibition

The work

Volcanoes are a recurrent theme in Pierre Alechinsky's work following his discovery of Tenerife. Here one is mixed with other central preoccupations of the artist. The exploded, very elaborate composition of the space reminds us of his training in typography. The spirals and calligraphy in the background, "unknotted writing knotted into a different shape," show his pleasure in drawing. The spouting, hesitant, cumbersome stroke hints of a rudimentary world in the making, "I hope contemporary art abandons its blind faith in a desperate technology, I hope we go back to using our hands."

The artist

Pierre Alechinsky was born in Brussels in 1927. He enrolled in the Brussels-based architecture and visual arts school École nationale supérieure d'Architecture et des Arts visuels de Bruxelles, where he studied the techniques of illustration, typography, printing and photography. In 1949, he joined the artists of the CoBrA (Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam) group, attracted by their spontaneity and rejection of formalism. Alechinsky then settled in Paris, where he frequented Alberto Giacometti and Bram van de Velde. Throughout his work, he continued to explore new techniques, such as calligraphy, which he discovered in Japan in 1955, and ink and acrylic painting, encountered during trips to the United States.