Pierre Klossowski

7 may, 1991 - 10 june, 1991 /
Sabatini Building, Floor 4

The exhibition devoted to the graphic work of writer and painter Pierre Klossowski (Paris, 1905-2001) presents a selection of drawings made between 1953 and 1990 to the Spanish public. These chronological boundaries frame a unique production on the European scene and among his contemporaries.

From the point of view of style, Klossowski flirts with timelessness, showing signs of a cold academicism and cultural references of the first order (such as mythological or allegorical themes), he opts for a Mannerist will, in the sense that he favours a language far from the classical ideal, while at the same time defending the practice of the drawing as a means of free expression (compared to the concept of representation). In addition, in 1953, Klossowski publishes his second novel, Roberte ce soir, which he illustrates with six graphite drawings. From that moment forward his work focuses on drawing - which he addresses as painting - and is able to establish conceptual correlation which, in his case, exists between the practice of drawing and writing. The person who has best defined Klossowski's drawings is probably André Masson who argues that these are not mere illustrations of his writings, but that "an extension would be more accurate".

The chronological analysis of the drawings gathered point to at least two aspects. The first, from the point of view of the technique that has been used, Klossowski has shifted from graphite to coloured pencils, thus approximating more to the notion of painting. Secondly, because of the theme, eroticism becomes the main (and only) subject to his compositions, understood as scenes. In the words of the artist, "eroticism is merely a form of representation"; in his drawings he puts on stage characters from the literary world, always on the first plane, as seen in: Roberte et les collégiens ( 1961), Les barres parallèles (1967), Le petit Rose (1974), Roberte et Gulliver (1980) and Saint Nicholas (1987). Klossowski considered himself a playwright before an artist and interprets the image as a "persistent vision of a gesture." So, for him, the picture is a sham, "an instrument, rather than an exorcism: according to its own rules an obsessed ghost is simulated because of invisibility and incommunicability." Through the use of large-dimensioned sheets of paper and tapestries he creates large compositions with almost life-size figures, which allows him to emphasise the theatrical nature of his drawings.

The exhibition is completed with a gallery of portraits of friends, writers, thinkers and artists: Georges Bataille, Andre Gide, Roland Barthes, André Breton, Robert Lebel, Jean Paulhan, Michel Butor, Balthus and Yves Bonnefoy, among others, accounting for the unique intellectual world of the artist.

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Ministère de la Culture, París
Catherine Grenier y Véronique Dabin
Exhibition Tour: 

Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques, Paris (October 3 - December 2, 1990); Musée Cantini, Marseilles (December 14, 1990 - January 27, 1991); Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol (March 21 - May 7, 1991); Sala Parpalló, Valencia (June - July, 1991)

Pierre Klossowski