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Abstraction Brute

An exhibition of the MZ collection, in resonance with Naga objects

“Abstract art is what I name any art that neither recalls nor contains any evocation of observed reality whether or not it be the artist’s starting point” (Michel Ragon)

Abstraction has always been Marcel Zelmanovitch’s preferred area of focus in his career as an artist and in his work as a textile designer. It is, in fact, this abstraction that propels him so naturally from one to the other using the multiple media at his disposal for the expression of his art. The artist adds matter to shape and colour and plays with it as a source of boundless expression: at times rough and sharp like the wooden surfaces of the objects that are exhibited, at others soft and delicate like the velvet of these rugs.

Marcel Zelmanovitch
L’abstraction, a limitless exploration by Marcel Zelmanovitch

In these decorative pieces we rediscover the designer’s great sources of inspiration in the French abstract artists of the 1950s.  He doesn’t attempt to portray “the visible appearance of the outside world” but rather, as Léon Degan emphasises, when describing this movement, to abridge reality or even highlight  breaches in reality. The artist eschews models and so frees himself from the necessity to be faithful to visual reality and thus from mimetic plastic artworks. He does not interpret subjects or objects from the natural world, be they real or imaginary, but only shapes and colours for their own sake and seeks to convey the expression of emotions, feelings.

A means to express ``raw``

As always, in Marcel Zelmanovitch’s creations, the scenes and materials are intimately linked, they play together and communicate with one another to form a coherent composite. The common thread here is the raw aspect as the collection’s title suggests.

Definition : raw (adj) : Not refined, unwrought , not altered from its natural state, not prepared or manufactured (fig.) hard, harsh, brutal (syn: basic, natural, untreated)

The adjective is used here for its several meanings.  Firstly, “raw” describes the shapes: there is a freedom of movement in the layout, sometimes brutal, a feeling of a first and final take that the author delivers openly; “raw” then, is also the material used in its unwrought state, undyed wool of the natural colour of sheep, the use of the raw material in its unmanufactured state its irregularities strengthening the expression of its rawness; “raw” finally is the kind of knot, a loose senna knot that wipes out the rhythm of the weave giving a more solid appearance to the material…

Naga pieces for a coherent alliance

This exhibition presents objects that are foreign by their technique but foster a certain complicity with the spirit of the collection: to present a set of Naga ladders and wheels sculpted out of solid material, a technique that endows these everyday objects with strong, simple beauty.  These objects recall primitive art works of the kind that so inspired the currents of abstract art. By adding the brutality of shape and matter born of woodwork and the sheen of a finished piece of wood we come full circle to find a working alliance which plunges us into this delicate, brutal universe…

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Photos Credit : Jad Caroll