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Martial Raysse

(b. 1936)


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(1936– )

French painter, installation artist, film-maker, and theatrical designer. He was born at Golfe-Juan, near Nice, and has worked mainly in Paris. One of the original signatories of the manifesto of Nouveau Réalisme in October 1960, he is best known for his assemblages of mass-produced commonplace objects. Often these works have a neat, display-rack character: ‘I wanted my works to possess the serene self-evidence of mass-produced refrigerators.’ Raysse Beach (1962) was an environment constructed for the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, a scene of modern European leisure including a plastic pool with inflatable ducks, an artificial lawn, and a jukebox. The Made in Japan (1965) series applies a synthetic plastic colour to the nudes of Ingres. This kind of visual luridness was a positive value for Raysse. He told an interviewer ‘Beauty is bad taste…Bad taste is the dream of a beauty too much longed for’ (Arts, 16 June 1965). He also made striking use of neon. In Bateau (1967, Pompidou Centre, Paris) the light evokes the smoke of a steamer on a stormy sea. After the Paris riots of 1968 he temporarily abandoned painting for film-making in a rejection of the consumer culture he had so celebrated. Later paintings tend to landscape subjects, often with classical references.

Further Reading

M. Alocco, L'École de Nice (1995)

Subjects: Art.


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