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Bleu O Noir by Jacques Villeglé

By March 5, 2012Commentary

A recent visit to the Museum of Modern Art yielded this wonderful piece I’d never seen before. “Bleu O Noir” by Jacques Villeglé, Done in 1955. Paper on canvas.

Bleu O Noir

He calls this art methodology “Ultra-Lettrist psychogeographical hypergraphics.” That’s impressive.

Jacques Villeglé, born Jacques Mahé de la Villeglé (1926, Quimper, Brittany) is a French mixed-media artist and affichiste famous for his alphabet with symbolic letters and decollage with ripped or lacerated posters. He builds posters in which one has been placed over another or others, and the top poster or posters have been ripped, revealing to a greater or lesser degree the poster or posters underneath. He is a member of the Nouveau Réalisme art group (1960–1963). His work has primarily focused on the anonymous and on the marginal remains of civilization.

Villeglé first started producing art in 1947 in Saint-Malo by collecting found objects (steel wires, bricks from Saint-Malo’s Atlantic retaining wall). In December 1949, he concentrated his work on ripped advertising posters from the street. Working with fellow artist Raymond Hains, Villeglé began to use collage and found/ripped posters from street advertisements in creating Ultra-Lettrist psychogeographical hypergraphics in the 1950s, and in June 1953, he published Hepérile Éclaté, a phonetic poem by Camille Bryen, which was made unreadable when read through strips of grooved glass made by Hains. In February 1954, Villeglé and Hains met the Lettrism poet François Dufrêne, and this latter introduced them to Yves Klein, Pierre Restany and Jean Tinguely. In 1958, Villeglé published an overview of his work on ripped posters, Des Réalités collectives, which is to a certain degree a prefiguration of the manifesto of the New Realism group (1960) which he joined at its inception.

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