Denis MARTINEZ - ALGERIA MY LOVE - Exhibition.

From 24 June to 10 July - Institut du monde arabe

  • MARTINEZ, Porte de l’Illumination.

    Porte de l'Illumination, 1991. Acrylic on canvas, 200 x 200 cm. Donation Claude and France Lemand 2019. Museum, Institut du monde arabe, Paris. © Denis Martinez. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • MARTINEZ, ANZAR, le Prince berbère de la Pluie.

    ANZAR, le Prince berbère de la Pluie, 2001. Acrylic on canvas, 200 x 300 cm. Donation Claude and France Lemand 2019. Museum, Institut du monde arabe, Paris. © Denis Martinez. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • MARTINEZ, Moula Moula, Oiseau porte bonheur du désert.

    Moula Moula, Oiseau porte bonheur du désert, 1992. Acrylic on canvas, 200 x 200 cm. Collection Claude and France Lemand. © Denis Martinez. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • MARTINEZ, D’un linceul à l’autre.

    D'un linceul à l'autre, 1999. Acrylic on canvas, 200 x 300 cm. Collection Claude and France Lemand. © Denis Martinez. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • MARTINEZ, Aghonja ramène la raison devant chaque porte 1.

    Aghonja ramène la raison devant chaque porte 1. Performance in Marseille in 2003. Copyright photo Dominique Devigne.

  • MARTINEZ, Aghonja ramène la raison devant chaque porte 2.

    Aghonja ramène la raison devant chaque porte 2. Performance in Marseille in 2003. Copyright photo Dominique Devigne.

Denis MARTINEZ. An Algerian Destiny - ALGERIA MY LOVE - Exhibition.

(After Anissa Bouayed)

Born in 1941 in Algeria, Denis Martinez con­cen­trates in the dif­ferent prisms of his cre­ation, which runs over more than sixty years, the artistic his­tory of con­tem­po­rary Algeria, and History in gen­eral: from a modest family of Spanish origin, he will choose, after 1962, inde­pen­dent Algeria as his father­land. Professor of drawing at the School of Fine Arts of Algiers from the age of 21, smug­gler and ped­a­gogue with two gen­er­a­tions of young Algerian artists in training, he was the ini­tiator in 1967, with Choukri Mesli, of the Aouchen group (Tattoos in Arabic), advo­cating an art both deeply rooted in the Algerian tra­di­tion and full of moder­nity and freedom of expres­sion. A pillar of the artistic life of young inde­pen­dent Algeria, his work was the sub­ject of a ret­ro­spec­tive at the Museum of Algiers in 1985. Forced into exile in 1994, during the dark years, he set­tled in Marseilles and taught at the Aix-en-Provence School of Art. The artist now shares his life between France and Algeria.

The work of Denis Martinez could be com­pared to that of the sur­re­al­ists or the dadaists, the artist claiming rather his taste for the pop­ular arts; but it is per­haps the res­o­lutely "prim­i­tive" char­acter that would best define his work, in his con­stant desire to break the tra­di­tional limits of painting. Assemblages, ver­tig­i­nous draw­ings of vir­tu­osity, painting in all its forms and on all sup­ports, - from the canvas to the walls, from the inte­rior to the exte­rior, without for­get­ting his instal­la­tions and his famous per­for­mances. Over the course of a unique artistic tra­jec­tory, com­bining a rich formal vocab­u­lary and inim­itable trait, this pro­moter of the polyphony of the arts will have given free rein to the decon­struc­tion of codes and to his taste, so rare in the art world, for the col­lec­tive work.
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- Denis Martinez, Porte de l’illu­mi­na­tion, 1991. Acrylic on canvas, 200 x 200 cm. © Donation Claude and France Lemand. IMA Museum.
- Denis Martinez, Anzar (the Berber prince of the rain), 2001. Acrylic on canvas, 200 x 300 cm. © Donation Claude and France Lemand. IMA Museum.

Two works from the Marseille period. At the begin­ning of the 1990s and the "dark years" in Algeria, Denis Martinez’s reflec­tion on space and the way of taking pos­ses­sion of it, an ever-recur­ring ques­tioning of a painter, took on anx­iety and tes­ti­fied to the con­fronta­tion of irrec­on­cil­able uni­verses. The aes­thetic treat­ment of the theme of the door, dear to the painter, evolves, becoming the place of con­trary ten­sions but also of open­ness to all pos­si­bil­i­ties. Thus, of this Door of illu­mi­na­tion, where the rev­e­la­tion seems to come from the con­fronta­tion of antag­o­nistic forces, which cross the sub­ject at the crossing of the threshold, like so many arrows. Subsequently, in other works, his "Doors" will become a place of vio­lence, with elec­tric colors, clashing, vio­lently con­trasting, to sig­nify the immi­nence of danger, felt in front of an exte­rior space that has become deadly, that of civil war. .

The ref­er­ence words, which the artist uses in his com­po­si­tions to ques­tion and cap­ture the gaze, are super­im­posed in their wor­ried and vain vehe­mence on the explic­itly aggres­sive signs that strike the canvas. The work From one shroud to another, pro­duced in 1999 in exile in Marseille, like sev­eral of these gates of hell, pro­longs the tes­ti­mony of these years of lead. The long rect­an­gles that sur­round the dazed char­acter follow one another, aligned like so many shrouds, sur­mounted by words in Tifinagh, Arabic, French, a pathetic expres­sion of dis­array and the omnipres­ence of vio­lence and death.

Copyright © Galerie Claude Lemand 2012.

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