Spirit, Are You There? The Painters of the Beyond

An Exhibition at Musée Maillol, Paris, 10 Jun – 1 Nov 2020


The exhibition on Augustin Lesage, Fleury-Joseph Crépin and Victor Simon held at the LaM, in Villeneuve d'Ascq has moved to the Musée Maillol in Paris under the title Esprit es-tu là ? Les peintres et les voix de l'au-delà (Spirit, are you there? The Painters of the Beyond).


At the center of this impressive exhibition are remarkable works by the three towering figures among French mediumistic artists from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th: Augustin Lesage, Victor Simon and Fleury-Joseph Crépin. The chronological, historical and thematic tour shows more than a hundred works from European, public and private collections.

Visitors are not only captivated by the oversized, astonishing canvases by Lesage and Simon with their meticulously worked out orientalist architectural fantasies in suggestive symmetrical structures, they also gain an insight into the historical development of mediumistic art in France. The selection of astonishing pen-and-ink drawings by Théophile Bra (1797-1863) is particularly noteworthy. His role as one of the earliest mediumist artists, even before the arrival of so-called Modern Spiritualism, through which mediumism, contact with discarnate entities, automatic writing and "spirit art" developed into a global phenomenon, cannot be overstated. Bras's drawings and his book L'Evangile rouge (The Red Gospel) are unique testimonies to a creative discharge against all contemporary conventions, which are without equal. The drawings are not only beguiling, but sometimes of a deeply disturbing modernity.

The works of Lesage, Simon and Crépin are not only presented in their historical context, but also enter into dialogue with contemporary art. The baroque ornamental monumental ceramic sculptures by Elmar Trenkwalder are particularly noteworthy.


Esprit es-tu là ? Les peintres et les voix de l'au-delà
10 Jun – 1 Nov 2020
61 rue de Grenelle
75007 Paris



Exhibition catalogue Esprit es-tu là ?
200 pages, paperback version, in French only
Mercator Fund Edition
ISBN 9789462302549







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