VISIONARY REVUE


      Given the historical importance of Surrealism both in France and abroad, it is rather surprising to find that les Visionnaires, as the possible hiers to Surrealism, lack cohesion or direction as an identifiable group. Granted, galleries have been created, books published, and the artists themselves have crossed paths many times.
      But, no daily meetings in cafés take place, no particular revue or manifesto has been established, and (most mercifully) no leader or 'pope' such as André Breton has emerged. Instead, there is a preference for solitude, painterly industry, and independence of thinking and expression.
      One result of this expansive freedom is that the artists themselves have naturally fallen into certain groups or 'genres of expression' within the visionary realm. Cat, Thomas, Ugarte, Trignac, Margotton, Poumeyrol - all of these artists (and more) have revived the genre of landscape painting and elevated it to vertiginous heights.
      Meanwhile, the genre of 'the fantastic' or 'fantastic realism' has also been enriched and expanded by the imaginative inventions of Verlinde, Halingre, Alaux, Martins de Barros, Bruvel, Huss, Fagan, Lórien and others. The dark and macabre has received its due in the disturbing visions of Poumeyrol, Ruppert, Kandl, Ljuba and Dado. Other artists, such as Henricot, Di-Maccio and Peyrolle, have remained more singular in their vision.

TOWARDS A DEFINITION
OF L'ART VISIONNAIRE


      The two greatest attempts, thus far, to bring these diverse groups and genres together may be found in the writings of Michel Random and Hervé Sérane. In 1979 Michel Random published his richly illustrated study l'Art Visionnaire, followed by a companion volume (with the same title, but different text and images) in 1991. Meanwhile Hervé Sérane, the founder of Galerie Râ, published his own essay




 
 
 


PARIS - FALL 2004


THE PASSAGE - Jean-Pierre Ugarte

on Les Visionnaires (Editions Galerie Râ) as well as the more polemical text Voyage au bout de l'art moderne (Voyage to the edge of Modern Art, Editions M. de Maule, 1997). It is, above all, in the works of these two writers that a uniquely French perspective onto Visionary art emerges.
      Both Random and Sérane agree that any one ready formula or definition of Visionary art remains impossible. Random first cautions us that "Nothing is more simple, nor more complex, than giving a definition to the word visionary." (1)


 
 
 


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