Les Cahiers dessinés : l'art du dessin

Art, Drawing and illustration
4 out of 5 stars
 (Anna Sommer, 'L'Allumeur', 2013 / © Anna Sommer)
Anna Sommer, 'L'Allumeur', 2013 / © Anna Sommer
 (Frédéric Pajak, 'Sans titre', 2014 / © Frédéric Pajak)
Frédéric Pajak, 'Sans titre', 2014 / © Frédéric Pajak

For the 10th anniversary of its review, unusual publishing house Cahiers Dessinés (Illustrated Books) has created a show about drawing at the Montmartre home of 'outsider art', the Halle Saint-Pierre. Emphasising the vigour of an art form that is often seen as minor, the exhibition opens with Victor Hugo brought to life by the cartoonist Chaval, followed by US artist Steinberg, who broke down barriers around journalistic illustration at the New Yorker. Then the matchless Topor, who leads us to the heart of a show that takes a good look at outsider art before delving deep into press illustration. Next to well-known names (Alechinsky, Sempé, Bosc, Gébé, Willem, Ungerer, Copi, Reiser, Valloton) are some wonderful surprises. There are rarely-seen pieces by Hans-Georg Rauch, drawings of Bourges by homeless cross-dresser Marcel Bascoulard, the disturbing yet familiar chaos of Otto Wols, Tetsu and his gloomy washes, and the dreamy, mysterious pastels of Anne Gorouben.

In its diversity and abundance, the exhibition succeeds in reminding us that drawing is a language. Just ask partially deaf illustrator Lin Wei-Hsuan, or Josefa Tolra, who took up drawing at the age of 60 after the death of his two sons. In the end, it's the same for all the artists grouped here: light, spontaneous, protean, drawing seen by Cahiers Dessinés is a universal language.


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