Lesage, Simon, Crépin

Peintres, spirites et guérisseurs

In 2019, the current profound interest in mediumistic art led to numerous large exhibitions in important museums and galleries. Sometimes the shows take on a national character, such as the presentation of three Swedish female artists in Millesgården. Similarly, the LaM, Lille Métropole Musée d'art moderne, d'art contemporain et d'art brut, focuses on three men from northern France, three of the outstanding figures of mediumistic painting: Augustin Lesage (1876-1954), Fleury Joseph Crépin (1875-1948), and Victor Simon (1903-1976).

The exhibition offers both a chronological approach based on historical developments and a thematic approach to spiritualist practices in general. In addition to the works of art, archive documents, contemporary works, but also objects from various civilizations and regions of the world are being presented.

The most striking feature of the works of Augustin Lesage, Fleury Joseph Crépin and Victor Simon is their meticulous use of arabesques made up of dots and dashes in a strictly symmetrical structure. The arabesque was already regarded by Baudelaire as the most spiritual and ideal of all possible drawings (“Le dessin arabesque est le plus spiritualiste des dessins”, Charles Baudelaire, Journaux intimes. Fusées IV). In Lesage, Crépin, and Simon they are arranged along exclusively vertical axes of symmetry and inserted into an ordering framework that both creates an effect of a hypnotic draw and evokes illusionary projections in the viewer. An additional peculiarity of their paintings is the insertion faces and figures, which are often but not exclusively taken from a religious context. Lesage and Simon in particular create cathedrals of an inner mythological universe, as it were, while Crépin’s paintings often seem like apotropaic forms, like Veves, the graphic symbols from the Voodoo cult.

At LaM, the works of these three great artists are not only placed in the historical context, but also in correspondence with the work of contemporary artists in their multi-layered references as exploration of the decorative line tamed in symmetry, of reflections and spiritual abysses on the apparent surface of the painting ground.

 

SLC

Lesage, Simon, Crépin
Peintres, spirites et guérisseurs
LaM
1 allée du Musée
59650 Villeneuve d'Ascq

4 Oct 2019 – 5 Jan 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

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