From photography to works on paper: Raoul Ubac first devoted his practice to surrealist photography, which was exhibited after 1933. He published his works in magazines such as Minotaure, and in 1938, Andre Breton requested his series of mannequins; which was presented in the International Exhibition of Surrealism held in Galerie Maeght in 1947. In the mid 1940s, Ubac started to give up photography little by little. Rather than a distinct rupture, his passion in minerals and interest in slate, guided his work. It became part of his research on the forms of minerals, along with Brassai, Eileen Agar and Raoul Haussmann. His new Parisian friends, such as Andre Frenaud, Jan Luscure and Alain Trutat, opened a new horizon for him. Raoul Ubac asserted and expressed himself more and more by realist drawing.
The way things: are « At the end of the war, I handed the new me to myself, » said Ubac, « I restart to draw the simplest objects and to paint the small watercolors.» From 1942 onward, there was a modification in his artistic approach. A desire to represent the real in order to comprehend the world differently was born in Surrealism. Rocks, landscapes and the human form became his preferred subjects. Throughout his studies, Ubac questioned the frontier of perception and the relativity of space. He then returned to the painting, particularly influenced by those of Jean Bazaine. He affixed engravings directly onto the canvas, and gave the initial space an extrapolation, which could develop infinitely. He liberated himself from the imperative of representation, which he defined it as the poetic counterspace. The vibrancy of his palette, which reminds of the chromatic play of Frantisek Kupka, endowed his pictorial works with all his intensity, his rhythm and his singularity.
Touch, light and time: In 1946, fascinated with statuary art, Raoul Ubac had an deep revelation about his sculpture. By creating reliefs, he merged pictorial effect with sculptural works. Made with stones, slates and amalgamated resins; in ash, in slate powder and in sand, the negative space left space for volume. Ubac drew after the memory of touch. He observed, dissected and sculpted different materials throughout the time and in relation to the light. He employed their irregularities, shaped them and gave colors to their bodies.
« A wonderful and respectable man, an exemplary artist like many in his generation, » according to Adrien Maeght: After his debut in 1950, Raoul Ubac, the photographer, painter, engraver and sculptor exhibited regularly at Galerie Maeght. His exhibitions are accompanied with works of preface by Andre Frenaud, Georges Limour and Yves Bonnefoy. In 1964, he made a Station of the Cross for Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul de Vence, and a grand stained-glass window for the chapel. He addtionally, illustrated a number of texts of Yves Bonnefoy, Christian Dotremont, Lucien Scheler and Claude Esteban with drawings, engravings and lithographies at Maeght Editeur. At the same time, he was the author for the cover of magazine Argile published between 1973 and 1981. The works of Raoul Ubac were presented in numerous exhibitions in France and internationally. His works are integrated into private and public collections such as the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and The MOMA(New York).
The exhibition will be accompanied by the film « Metamorphoses » (1963) and « Ubac un portrait » (1972) that tells the story of Raoul Ubac’s universe and creation.