« Szpilman Award 2024 | Main | Richard Avedon at the Jeu de Paume »

Jacques Villeglé at the Centre Pompidou

Adrian K Sanders writing for I V Y paris


Walls and walls of old walls and walls are on display at the Centre Pompidou. The torn and ripped billboards of Jacques Villeglé have finally found their way to the Beauborg.

For the first time in his entire career, Villeglé, now 82 years old, is being recognized with a retrospective at a major institution in France.

The exhibition is packed full of his lacerated poster pieces, with a smattering of other works displayed towards the end proving that the artist is still active.  But the real stars are the poster pieces. Villeglé's method of décollage can be careful, reckless, loving and violent, with an uncanny sense of how soulless advertising really is.

Like a contemporary street artist, Villeglé aims to shift our perspective on the city's walls and corners. Titles of works like "50 rue Turbigo" affix their meaning and value to the city and demand at the very least, acceptance that the street existed (long before the piece was bought, sold, resold and then auctioned off to some CEO living in Baltimore).

Simply revealing the physical layers of a billboard exposes years of visual, cultural and political histories. Fonts, printing techniques and paper qualities of all epochs and fads clash, coalesce and shine in Villeglé's works, which act as visual encyclopedias of a single place.

At the opening, among hordes of adoring press and fans (or at the least, members of the Pompidou), Villeglé sat with his hat tilted to the side, drinking a beer. I asked him what he thought about street art and the contemporary art world in general to which he politely and warmly replied: "Some works I like, some I don't. But making art is hard. Each generation has its own difficulties with making art, sometimes with money, sometimes with the inspiration, but for whatever reason, it's still out there" - a reply made more poignant after seeing the exhibition.

The decollage works contain advertisments and posters from nearly half a century, each drastically different, each interesting and arresting but all with the same message: On this street corner, on this wall, scratch the surface, look closer, there's something interesting here.

Now through January 5th, 2024,
From 11 am to 9 pm.

Bonapart Paris apartments


I love this - have to see it!

I love this - have to see it!

sounds brilliant, wish i'd come now. I did see a real life version of this when they were re-doing a metro station on Line 12 a few year's ago and the walls were exposed showing pieces of old 30's advertising. Pretty cool.

Post a comment

Search the site

More sites to explore...


Site notices

  •  Subscribe in a reader

    Add to My AOL

    Subscribe in Bloglines

    Add to Google

    Copyright © Susie Hollands.