Posts tagged black and white

gilles rigoulet

I came across these earlier today and I had to have them!

They’re by the photographer Gilles Rigoulet and I bought them from him at his stall in the brocante on Rue de Bretagne in the third arrondissement of Paris.

They were taken in the mid 80s at the Piscine Molitor, in the 16th, just before it closed down. I find them quite witty with an extremely good eye for composition and texture. They remind me of Lartigue in a way.

The Molitor is currently under renovation after being boarded up for decades and is scheduled to reopen next year as a swishy new complex with a hotel, restaurants and medical centre.

Coming across these was quite timely then although I’m not sure if topless sunbathing and swim shorts will be allowed. Paris is notorious for its Speedo only policy! Trust me, I have to suffer this every week!!

gilles rigoulet 1 gilles rigoulet 2 gilles rigoulet 9 gilles rigoulet 4 gilles rigoulet 5 gilles rigoulet 7 gilles rigoulet 6 gilles rigoulet 10

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Clarissa Cestari’s work, from the previous post, reminds me of the late Hans Hartung, one of my heroes. The day I own a Hartung sketch will be one of the happiest in my life. I first came across the work of Hartung many years ago as an art student. There was a retrospective of his work at the Tate Britain – this was way before the Tate Modern existed. I actually prefer Tate Britain. I loved the way you could criss cross your way between pre-modern and modern art… staring at a Turner one minute, pondering Marguite the next. I also loved the Rothko room which housed The Seagram Murals – my favourite works of art. Its almost criminal, blasphemous even, the way they are now displayed at their new home, the Tate Modern. That dark room commanded a deep reverence the moment you walked in. It was a cathedral shrouded in silence. A truly spiritual experience.  Now they’ve placed them in an overlit, raucous corridor, well at least that’s how it was the last time I saw them.

I digress. Back to Hartung. I was totally blown over by his drawn work. The abstract mark makings in black. They were alive, so strong was their energy. Broad strokes drawn in a frenzy, mad spindly scribbles, a wash of paint here, a smudge there, a flash of primary yellow. Its the sort of art that the moronic make comments such as, “Even I could do that, my three year old daughter could do that.”  Have a go, mate.


Its easier said than done. There  is something deeply intuitive about the randomness of the drawings/ doodles. Naivety is contaminated by cynicism the older we get. We need distraction to tap into it. Take doodling whilst on the phone, for example. Why is it that you can never consciously recreate the freedom and dynamism of those marks? That’s the power of a Hartung. The ability to tap into the deepest recesses of the subconscious and make it all look so easy_