Page 18 - Studio International - May 1966
P. 18

Opposite                is absolutely unbridgeable. All we can do is try, by   `Dubuffet realized that the struggle against the sight—
      Lettre a M. Royer (Desordre sur   sympathetic extrapolation, to understand how that cave-  final filter of our communion with the world—must begin
      la table) 1953
      Oil                     man felt about his magical effigy. When, late at night in  at the beginning of this visual contact: all perceptions
      32 x 40 in.             a tube station, I see a poster for  Thunderball  with a  had to be stripped from the crust of centuries-old indo-
      Pierre Matisse Gallery,   picture of Sean Connery to which some lonely adolescent  lence, vivified, restored to their original virginity. In
      New York
                              has appended a huge penis in Biro, I don't see that image  order to shake off the yoke of socially sanctified beauty,
                              the way the scribbler did, it can't possibly mean the same  the artist had to begin by awakening the stultified per-
                              to me; all I can do is form an approximate idea of what  ception.' Dubuffet claimed the revival of visual idioms
                              stresses led him to draw it. This fundamental distance  that were even more ancient' (than Hellenism) 'as they
                              between style and experience is expressed by Dubuffet in  went back to the dawn of mankind, recorded not in
                              the simple fact that he doesn't draw his graffiti on walls,  doubtful chronicles but in the inarticulate certainty of
                              where they would be direct, but on canvas, where they  blood.' Both these quotes happen to be by the same
                              are comments on graffiti.                          author, Pierre Rouve, but they typify the sort of thing
                               The dream of getting back to absolute crudity without  one is used to reading about Dubuffet. In the first, the
                              turning yourself into a stylist is, of course, a very attrac-  naive view of history, which is, if nothing else, charming:
                              tive one. But the arguments for it have a mock-pastoral  the eyes of the West have been blind for 'centuries', but
                              flavour: Marie-Antoinette's courtiers, togged up as pea-  now, with the arrival of our culture-hero, we learn to see.
                              sants, at their levies in the grounds of the Petit Trianon.  Actually, Rouve's image of virginity is more apposite
                              The patterns of conversation are distinctive: a keyed-up  than it seems—you cannot restore virginity; all you can
      Paysage au chien mort 1952
      Indian ink              rhetoric full of historical imperatives, both hectoring and  do is simulate it, whether by plastic surgery or by the
      19 1/4 x 25 1/4 in.     woolly.                                            kind of stylistic exercise in which Dubuffet is engaged.
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