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Electric shadows at the Pompidou Centre Malaga

Part of the exhibition by Pierre Alechinsky at the Centre Pompidou Málaga.
Part of the exhibition by Pierre Alechinsky at the Centre Pompidou Málaga. / ÑITOR SALAS
  • The exhibition by Pierre Alechinsky, which is being seen outside France for the first time, brings the year to an end at the Pompidou and will continue until 12 April

  • 'Alechinsky en el país de la tinta' consists of 75 works by the Belgian artist and printer, who is known for breaking through the rigours of expressionism

In the brushstrokes you can perceive perfectly the emotion felt by Pierre Alechinsky when he did them, barefoot, intently focused, attacking a blank piece of paper. The Belgian painter and printer is known for his ability to play with humour, poetry and the aesthetic in works charged with electricity, which range from Asiatic typographies to comics, often marked by the support upon which he creates his work and sometimes experiments.

Electric shadows at the Pompidou Centre Malaga

The exhibition, which has been organised with the support of Fundación Unicaja, covers a long period of time, from 1950 to the present day. Moving between these works is like a journey to the perfect fusion of surrealism and expressionism which Alechinsky has portrayed all his life.

Each picture, no matter what its size, holds a sentiment which is trying to escape from the paper. In many cases, this Belgian artist draws on antique parchments and manuscripts from the 17th, 18th and 19th century, as well as maritime, aerial and military maps.

The mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre; the president of the Centre Pompidou, Serge Lasvignes; the Councillor for Culture, Noelia Losada; the director of the public agency which runs the museum, José María Luna; the curator of the exhibition and head of the 'Cabinet d'art graphique' of the Pompidou - the department responsible for preserving the works by Alechinsky - Jonas Storsve; and José Medina Galeote, representing Fundación Unicaja, were at the recent launch to provide the details of this journey into the "country of ink".

Electric shadows at the Pompidou Centre Malaga

The curator of the exhibition explained the importance of the artist's membership of the Cobra group, a triad of artists whose name comes from the cities in which they were born (Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam).

"Cobra was a completely informal group which came about through their rejection of the Second World War. They wanted not only to end the horror of conflict but also the cultural misery which resulted from that disaster," explained Storsve.

The group lasted for less than five years; its members separated because of differences that arose between them, but it had a major influence on Alechinsky.

Electric shadows at the Pompidou Centre Malaga

Geometric rigidity

There is an avant-garde aspect hidden in the electric shadows of this artist, something which also characterised the Cobra group, against the geometric rigidity of the 1940s, which can be seen from the use of materials which are less rigid than oil paint in the works.

During the presentation, it was clear to see that the mayor and the president of the Centre Pompidou have a good relationship, the result of five years of working together during which the art centre had become "much more than a gallery", a place "where decisions and risks are taken," as Lasvignes described it.

Electric shadows at the Pompidou Centre Malaga

De la Torre explained that in Malaga there are still "many opportunities ahead", while the director of the public agency, José María Luna, admitted that "five years have flown past without us really noticing".

Losada described this exhibition as "the perfect end" to 2019, and also reminded those present that the temporary exhibition of works by Henri Matisse had been visited by 60,000 people.