Centre Pompidou, Paris

MUSÉE NATIONAL D'ART MODERNE - CENTRE GEORGE POMPIDOU | Place Georges-Pompidou
F-75004 Paris

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The Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne presents the first retrospective in France devoted to the works on paper of Antonio Seguí, a major figure of the Latin-American artistic scene, and a Paris resident since the beginning of the 1960s.

This exhibition brings together nearly a hundred works produced by the artist, from the 1950s to today. It brings to light a body of work where humor and poetry challenge all pre-established styles.

The chronological structure of the exhibition recalls the various stages in the work of an artist who always works in series – until he exhausts the pleasure of creating – soldiers, dandies, elephants or else simply scenes of everyday life: in the street, interiors, cafés... His ensembles such as “Paris Journal” (exhibited in Paris at the Galerie Marwan Hoss in 1992) or the series “Man in the City” from the end of the 1980s, but never shown in France, will be presented in this exhibition along with his most recent works.

One will be able to see the range of means he employs, from pen and ink, charcoal, pastel and pencil to oils and acrylics on newsprint mounted on canvas. Visitors will be astonished by the virtuosity with which he can shift, according to the subject, from somewhat refined drawings to others almost coarse, brutal, and cutting. However, his line is always sensitive, always alive, always near to its subject, mocking all spaces, all perspectives, passing between walls and arriving sometimes at the limit of abstraction, playing thus with cubism and even geometric abstraction. One will also see, in particular in his more recent works painted with acrylics on mounted newsprint, the surprising freshness that issues from his use of color.

Drawing, in the sense of construction, is at the heart of Antonio Seguí’s oeuvre, whether on canvas or paper. His work is never preparatory since the artist draws directly on the canvas. It can refer to simple sketches made to pass the time or be much more elaborate. It often accentuates, through simplification, the subversive aspects of the work. The figure of a man, even stereotyped, is omnipresent.

With this theatre of the absurd, that is the work of Antonio Seguí, one finds the taste for freedom that is a fundamental value of art and life for him.

Antonio Seguí was born in 1934 in Cordoba, Argentina. He studied painting in Buenos Aires, then in Madrid and Paris. He traveled for nearly three years throughout Latin America, and visited Mexico where he acquired a passion for the then little-known Indian cultures. It was in 1962, a bit by chance, that he moved to Paris where he still lives, regularly returning to Argentina, except during the years of that country’s dictatorship.

Seguí made a name for himself very quickly by participating the following year (1963) in the Biennale de Paris, with a suite of collages made from old photographs and paint – an example, “Le promeneur,” 1963 is included in this exhibition – inspired by the stereotyped images of his native country, a mixture of distant nostalgia and satire, something totally Seguí.

In 1964, the galleries Jean-Bucher and Claude Bernard (where he continues to show) presented works with a ferocious expressionism, of which numerous examples will be seen in this exhibition, notably pen and ink drawings that present, the most often, images of ferocious and ridiculous military men and mustached dandies. After that point, exhibitions of his work took place throughout Europe, the United States and Latin America.

PUBLICATION Catalog published by the Editions du Centre Pompidou. Collection “Carnet de dessins” texts (in French) by Antonio Tabucchi, interview with Antonio Seguí by Claude Schweisguth graphic design of the collection: Compagnie Bernard Baissait format: 20 x 24 cm, 96 pages, approximately 85 images of which 40 in color

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Antonio Segui