Mahjoub Ben Bella, Works on paper. La Piscine Museum, Roubaix, France.
24 OCTOBER 2015 - 31 JANUARY 2016
Museum’s Press Release.
A companion of the Roubaix museum long before its premises were established in the pool of the rue des Champs, Mahjoub Ben Bella will be exhibiting there his graphic works this fall. Although the artist is renowned for his large compositions that unveil a persistent and whimsical movement, La Piscine took the decision of displaying the works on paper that accompanied the painter since the beginning of his artistic career.
The signs are still present in these delicate works. On the works on canvas, the signs could be interpreted as a song that is to be listened to and looked at, yet on the works on paper, the signs are to be deciphered and read, like an unfinished novel that follows the path of the artist’s life, story, memories, culture and passion...
More than a hundred works have been brought together on this occasion, showcasing Ben Bella’s multi-faceted oeuvre on paper. Even the quality of the paper used adds to the precious dimension of this work. The richness of an unrestrained inspiration is exposed to our wide-open eyes through the intimacy of his sketchbooks. The variety of shapes and of ‘art informel’ sometimes places us before the virtuosity of an abstract style and at other times we stand before the magical memory of an architecture that is just as much sacred than it is imaginary. His graphic oeuvre is characterized by the watercolor’s discrete elegance, the gouache’s mat thickness, the black ink’s graphic stridency, the self-centered page layouts and the motifs that cover the surface of his works.
The exhibition is held in the sensitive cocoons of the cabins along the large pool, hence inducing the audience to be in communion with the coherence and diversity of his work, that is recognized as being today one of the most original and most varied oeuvre, qualified by its own independent modernity.
Since 1996, the Roubaix Museum has undertaken several projects with Mahjoub Ben Bella. Through the diversity of techniques, periods and supports that are represented in this exhibition, this new adventure triggers another type of emotion and another aspect of an artist, whose origins have superbly nurtured the aesthetic landscape of our region since he arrived in Tourcoing in 1965.
Brigitte Ben Bella and Sylvette Botella-Gaudichon.
The Catalogue of this exhibition is published by Atelier Galerie Éditions. Text by Art Historian Alain Jaubert.
Translated from French by Valérie Hess