13 November – 15 March 2016 Musee de Marseille CANTINI
Sometimes it is lonely visiting exhibitions without the company of other fellow students, but sometimes I am happy to be ‘out on a limb’ here in southern France. In fact yesterday I really wanted to see an exhibition of Street Art entitled BLAZE. I figured this might not meet with deep approval either by the college authorities or my fellow students. They all seem to visit very famous photographer’s exhibitions. I have a very special interest in Street Art and will host a solo exhibition in a cafe in West Cork, this Summer, Hence I wanted to see how others present an exhibition on the same subject. But in the nature of this subject ,when I arrived at M74 (Gallery), it was barred and bolted with no explanation as to why….
So I took the opportunity to visit the CANTINI museum where I knew there was an Andre Masson exhibition.
Masson was born in 1896 and lived to be 91 years old. He was one of the surrealists of the nineteen twenties but changed his style many times. He pushed himself into extreme states to try to open up his subconscious, often working under the influence of drugs. His work was influenced by the terrible suffering he experienced during the Great War.
He fled, with the help of the American journalist Varian Fry, to the USA in 1941 to avoid the Nazi occupation of France but returned in 1945. During his time in the US he was very influential in spreading the vision and ideas of surrealism.
Much of his work on display in the CANTINI is from this period in the US (click to view). It is packed with detail and needs to be studied closely in order to extract the information contained within. While at the same time there are portraits in pen or pencil which are beautiful in their explicit simplicity.
I found many of his images troubling such as Orador, I felt sapped of energy after the viewing.