Max Wechsler, La Disparition (Hommage à Georges Perec), détail, 2001, papier sur contreplaqué, don de l’artiste
Max Wechsler’s donation of works to the mahJ consecrates the long dialogue between the museum and the artist, awarded the Prix Maratier by the Fondation Pro mahJ in 2003.
Max Wechsler’s major donation to the mahJ comprises works created from 1984 to 2015 by gluing paper to canvas. Unique in their dimensions and textures, these compositions are based on the principles the artist established in 1983: his exclusive use of black and white and printed text, which he tears up, reworks and covers over. This work method stemmed from both his personal life and artistic standpoint. Born in Berlin in 1925, Max Wechsler arrived in Paris without his family in 1939 – his parents were deported to Auschwitz in 1943.
In 1958, Max Wechsler began painting figurative pictures influenced by Surrealism. In 1968, he had his first solo exhibition at the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris. From 1974 to 1977 he ceased painting entirely, then in 1979 began producing abstract works that evolved towards his use of paper glued to canvas.
This development derived from his will to free himself from subjective painterly gesturality. At the same time he intensified his exploration of text, which appears in the form of debris, conveying a fierce energy in its illegibility and tears, like a witness to an inexpressible story. “All history, all culture is expressed in texts. I take a part of this by sublimating their letters. I give letters another appearance to express what they mean to me: silence, solitude, light and darkness.”
“It is a letter’s typographic aspect, form, angle and density that interests me. My project consists in divesting the letter of its function: the written word.
I transform, upset a letter in order to use only its components: a contour, a line, a curve. I arrange fragments of letters converted into signs on a surface, then glue them to create a rhythm, an inner light. The initial module is then photocopied repeatedly. The covering can then begin.
Illegibility takes over the space, but there always emanates something of its written origin.
The letter, ceaselessly transformed, destructured, resists, reveals itself to be indestructible.
Other representations appear; the letter becomes its Other.
I am fond of associating what will be forever unseen and what remains indelible. This metamorphosis reinforces the omnipresence of the letter, which challenges its disappearance.”
Max Wechsler, 2006
Max Wechsler, au-delà des signes, un film d'Isabelle Filleul de Brohy