Alechinsky, Cobra and the Book
The 1992 Travaux d’Impression by Michel Butor and Michel Sicard lists close to 90 illustrated books, yet this aspect of Alechinsky’s work is little known.1 The authors mention a wide range of books, from ordinary volumes with reproduced vignettes to priceless “livres de peintre.” The artist makes use of a variety of graphic techniques, quite often in combination: etching, assemblage, stencil, lithograph, woodcut, china ink drawing. Moreover, Alechinsky’s inventive lettering, whether typographical, handwritten, hand-scribbled, calligraphed, or simply semic, flows into unusually shaped inscriptions which go beyond the bounds of recognizable illustration. The painter actually started out as a printer. “Je suis un peintre qui vient de l’imprimerie” [I’m a painter who started out as a printer].2 He never dreamed of disowning his earlier profession, for even his most painterly compositions reflect in one way or another the art of printing. He invented a great variety of devices so as to maintain throughout his production a close contact between the verbal and the visual. Nor did he cross the barrier between the two, for he never acknowledged their separation.
KeywordsBrush Stroke Shaped Inscription Cursory Script Discontinuous Spectacle Brush Move
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- 1.Michel Butor and Michel Sicard, Alechinsky. Travaux d’Impression, Paris: Galilée, 1992.Google Scholar
- 2.Ibid., p. 9. Translations are by J. D. Hubert.Google Scholar
- 3.Pierre Alechinsky, L’Autre Main, Montpellier: Fata Morgana, 1988, p. 92.Google Scholar
- 4.Pierre Alechinsky, Roue Libre, Genève: Skira, 1971.Google Scholar
- 5.Roue d’Ecriture is reproduced in Travaux d’Impression, p. 102.Google Scholar
- 6.Comme un coursier indompté. Textes de la Révolution: Dominique Bozo, Jean-Michel Frony et Jean de Bengy; lithographies: Alberola, Alechinsky, Aillaud, Biais, Buraglio et Avidor Arikha, Paris: n. p., 1989.Google Scholar
- 7.Max Loreau, Dotremont, Logogrammes, Paris: Fall, 1975.Google Scholar
- 8.Pierre Alechinsky, Michel Butor et Michel Sicard, ABC de Correspondance, Paris: Maeght, 1986.Google Scholar
- 9.Tom Phillips, A Humument, A Treated Victorian Novel, London: Thames & Hudson, 1980.Google Scholar
- 10.Joyce Mansour, Pierre Alechinsky and Sebastian Matta, Le Grand Jamais, Paris: Maeght, 1981.Google Scholar