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Writings on the Wall


Brassaï Caniaris Dubuffet Millares Tàpies Twombly


Brassaï, Enfant à la sauvette, Graffiti, c.1931

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Martin Irvine

The Legible City and the Language of the Wall The works in Writings on the Wall represent important statements in an ongoing conversation about artmaking in modern urban communities, from the 1930s to the present. The making and reception of art since the advent of modernism is inseparable from the experience of cities, but for the artists in Writings on the Wall, the experience of the built environment of the city, with all its public surfaces of inscription and image-making, is inseparable from the identity of being an artist. The city, as material place, cultural idea, engine of history and repertoire of signs, is everywhere presupposed as an indispensable interlocutor in the ongoing modern debate about what art is, what it could be, or should be. For Brassaï, Jean Dubuffet, Vlassis Caniaris, Cy Twombly and Antoni Tàpies, the cities of Paris, Athens, Rome and Barcelona are not merely home addresses. For them, everything starts from an urban a priori; empathy with the city as a place with layered histories of shared expression provides the necessary framework for making an artwork function as art in the material conditions of the modern world. For these artists, the city is the real teacher, providing a daily instruction manual, a visual encyclopedia of codes and semiotic systems, legible on the primary tableaux of urban surfaces. Walls and streets are palimpsests holding memories of political history, social struggle and identities, advertising and graffiti. As statements in the broader dialogue of modernism, the works in Writings on the Wall are nodes in the network of art movements which established a visual language anchored in the experience of city walls. The intersecting artistic responses of this era draw from Surrealism, Dada, Lettrism, Art Brut, Arte Povera, Art Informel; ‘primitivism’; décollage (torn street posters re-collaged), matiérisme, collage, assemblage and found materials; graffiti and street art. Seeking to recover inscriptions from the collective cultural memory, Manolo Millares, who became closely aligned with Tàpies, responded by searching the archaeological record of prehistoric symbols and cave paintings, the earliest ‘walls’. This move united the modern and the ancient by reclaiming ownership over forgotten, or suppressed, symbolic inscriptions. Brassaï, who studied not only the modern graffiti on the walls of Paris, but older graffiti such as that of ancient Rome and prehistoric cave petroglyphs, articulated the theory embraced by the artists in this group: ‘the language of the wall amounts to not only an important and, until now, little studied social phenomenon, but also to one of the most powerful and authentic forms of artistic expression.’ 1 Throughout his career, Twombly also showed a deep appreciation for markmaking in all its forms, partly inspired by the ancient graffiti he encountered in Rome and across Europe and North Africa, over the course of several 5


trips undertaken in the early 1950s. His works show the transference of street wall acts and gestures, ‘surrogate graffiti’, ‘like anonymous drawings on walls.’ 2

The City as a Space of Signs and Material Memory Sociologist Henri Lefebvre, who wrote extensively about cities in the 1960s–80s, defined urban space not as something given, but as socially constructed in built locations with situated messages and codes that form a legible system of signs.³ Lefebvre described what many artists had already discovered more intuitively: Society has been completely urbanised… The street is a place to play and learn. The street is disorder… This disorder is alive. It informs. It surprises… The urban space of the street is a place for talk, given over as much to the exchange of words and signs as it is to the exchange of things. A place where speech becomes writing. A place where speech can become ‘savage’ and, by escaping rules and institutions, inscribe itself on walls.4 Lefebvre opens up a view of the city as an engine of time, occupied space and selective memory and, as such, urban material temporality entails obliteration, loss of the ephemeral in search of being fixed in time and place. As Brassaï remarked, ‘A wall gives a voice to that part of man that would otherwise be condemned to silence.’ 5 In the language of the wall, ‘each letter is converted into another from some imaginary alphabet, and a curious writing system is born, hermetic, enigmatic, of strange beauty.’ 6 Brassaï discovered how graffiti is subject to erasure through time: ‘most of my graffiti no longer exist on the wall, they’ve been painted over or torn down.’ 7 This primal mark-making as the affirmation of existence and identity in the face of obliteration is ‘the faith of graffiti,’ in Norman Mailer’s provocative phrase.8 The symbolic function of the city wall resonates on multiple levels for those living in old European cities. Walls not only define the exteriors of buildings and outlines of city streets, but were built as defensive and exclusive enclosures; they are the boundaries of aristocratic estates and private properties, which conceal government and military headquarters. As Brassaï commented: ‘A high wall throws down a challenge. Protecting property, defending order, it is a target for protest and insult, as well as for demands of every sexual, political, or social persuasion… Neither newspapers, nor posters have supplanted “the writing on the wall”. A word inscribed by hand in huge letters has an impact that no poster can possibly have.’ 9 Tàpies likewise commented: ‘What riches can be found in the image of the wall and all its possible derivations! Separating, cloistering, wailing 6


walls, prison walls, witnesses of the passage of time… signs of the imprint of men… or remains of love or pain.’ 10 Brassaï was the major catalyst for bringing attention to Paris graffiti as a symbolic system, indeed for recovering the primal history of what he termed the ‘latent imagery’ on walls from cave paintings and ancient Rome to modern city streets.11 He began photographing graffiti in the 1930s as part of his street photography project, and became a graffiti theorist for the Surrealist movement in the 1940s–50s. André Breton, Surrealism’s principal theorist, proposed that graffiti provided the visual poetry of an urban unconscious, primal symbols and ‘found drawings’ that short-circuited high art culture. Exhibitions of Brassaï’s photographs of graffiti, held in New York, Paris and London in the 1950s and early ’60s, were enormously influential and shaped popular discourse about ‘primitivism’, outsider art

Brassaï, Graffiti, Paris, c.1958

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Jean Dubuffet in front of a graffiti wall, Vence, 1959

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and the unselfconscious expression of the untrained savant. Brassaï’s essays on graffiti were reprinted in his graffiti photobook, published in 1961, accompanied by some of his conversations with Pablo Picasso. A close friend of Picasso, Brassaï captured many of his comments about walls and graffiti: Walls are a marvel, don’t you think? I’ve always paid a great deal of attention to what happens on walls. When I was young, I often even copied graffiti. And how many times have I been tempted to pause in front of a nice wall and carve something on it. [But] you have to leave it there, abandon it to its fate. Graffiti belong to everyone and no one. 12 Brassaï studied graffiti on the walls of Paris like an urban ethnologist, classifying signs and symbols, describing levels and layers. He reflected on the appropriation of ‘wall materials’ and a ‘wall language’ in the works of Picasso, Joan Miró and Paul Klee: ‘[modern paintings] are like so many interpretations, if not imitations, of a wall.’ 13 Dubuffet had already been responding to graffiti when he met Brassaï in 1944. A year later, he began a series of lithographs, Les murs (The Walls), to accompany twelve poems on the subject of walls written by Eugène Guillevic. Fifteen of the lithographs were published in book form in 1950. In these and other later works, he created wall textures, graffiti and human figures in close dialogue with Brassaï’s preoccupations. Many of Dubuffet’s paintings that depict walls and façades are themselves composed with wall ‘matter’ – thick impasto mixed with sand and gravel – and are incised with drawings and inscriptions like wall graffiti. Tàpies transposed the function of city walls onto his canvases, often marking them with raw graffiti gestures, crosses, ‘X’s and ritual and territorial marks. He acknowledged the materiality of the elemental marks, traces of gestures and human-imposed signs, in and on ‘raw materials’, all of which had been subject to natural-temporal decay, to loss of form. His cross mark acts as an elemental sign of human presence, ‘I mark this thus,’ against all the ravages of destruction and forgetting. Tàpies was born and lived in Barcelona and, as a Catalan growing up during the worst years of political oppression in Spain, he identified with the city’s medieval walls, which had become a record of the street-level history of many generations of people. In his 1969 essay, ‘Communication on the Wall’, he reflected on his personal path to ‘wall paintings’ as a response to the political oppression under military dictatorship in Spain in the 1930s–40s. As his community suffered from repressed expression, he noted how words and ideas, ‘appeared to inscribe themselves on the walls around me.’ 14 In the 1950s, Tàpies discovered Brassaï’s photographs of graffiti, which further motivated his wall paintings. For him, marks and incisions in matter were signs of the undeniable presence of human action imposed materially and directly. He recalled a turning point in the 1950s: ‘the most sensational surprise was to discover one day, suddenly, that my paintings… had turned into walls.’ 15 9


For Greek artist Vlassis Caniaris, the rough surface of his frottage mimicked the walls of his home city of Athens. His Homage to the Walls of Athens 1941–19… series predates the Greek military dictatorship of the late 1960s, but the experience of the occupation of Greece during the Second World War, followed by civil war, informed his concern for political freedom, resistance and social welfare. He stated explicitly that his assemblages were intended to, ‘re-create the image as well as the feeling/ impression of the walls of occupied Athens.’ 16 Akin to Tàpies’ repetition of the letter ‘A’, the letter ‘E’ recurs in Caniaris’ Walls of Athens series; its meaning is threefold, standing for EAM, the abbreviation of the National Liberation Front which was the principal resistance group against the Axis authorities, EPON (United Panhellenic Organization of Youth), and Ellas (Hellas), the ancient and modern name for Greece. The relevance of the artists included in Writings on the Wall reaches far beyond their art historical significance. Contemplating them in the context of today, works by these artists are now understood as providing generative ideas that are continually being reinterpreted and extended by contemporary artists who view city streets and walls as a continuum for a living artistic practice, a practice inaugurated by the artists in this exhibition.17

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Brassaï, ‘Preface to the Catalog of my Exhibition of Graffiti in London (September 25–October 25, 1958)’, in Brassaï: Graffiti, trans. David Radzinowicz, Flammarion, Paris, 2002, p.142. 2 The first quotation is from an essay by Robert PincusWitten in 1968, the second from a review in 1953 by Lawrence Campbell, included in Nicola Del Roscio et al., eds., Writings on Cy Twombly, Schirmer/Mosel, Munich, 2003, pp.65 & 25. 3 Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, 1991. 4 Henri Lefebvre, The Urban Revolution, trans. Robert Bononno, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2003, p.19. 5 Brassaï, op. cit. 6 Brassaï, op. cit., p.20. 7 Brassaï, Conversations with Picasso, trans. Jane Marie Todd, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1999, 27 November 1946, p.274. To keep a record of his discoveries, Brassaï started a notebook around 1950 for making sketches of the graffiti with their street addresses, and then returned to photograph them to capture the passage of time. See Brassaï, op. cit., p.153. 8 Norman Mailer, ‘The Faith of Graffiti’, Esquire, May 1974; The Faith of Graffiti, text by Norman Mailer, documented by Mervyn Kurlansky and Jon Naar, Praeger, New York, 1974.

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‘The Language of the Wall’, in Brassaï, op. cit., pp.19–20. 10 Antoni Tàpies, ‘Communication on the Wall’, in Youssef Ishaghpour, ed., Antoni Tàpies: Works, Writings, Interviews, Polígrafa, Barcelona, 2007, p.116. 11 Brassaï, op. cit.; discussed in the Introduction, Chapter 1, ‘The Wall as Proposition’ and Chapter 2, ‘The Language of the Wall’. 12 Brassaï, Conversations with Picasso, op. cit., 10 July 1945, p.254; Brassaï records many conversations with Picasso about graffiti and city walls, and captures Picasso’s response to the book of graffiti photographs (May 1960). 13 Brassaï, op. cit., p.13. 14 Tàpies, op. cit., p.115. 15 Tàpies, op. cit., p.117. 16 www.documenta14.de/en/artists/22250/vlassiscaniaris. 17 See Martin Irvine, ‘The Work on the Street: Street Art and Visual Culture’, in Ian Heywood and Barry Sandywell, eds., The Handbook of Visual Culture, Berg, London and New York, 2012, pp.235–78.

Martin Irvine is a professor at Georgetown University, and the Founding Director of the graduate program in Communication, Culture and Technology. He is also the founder of the former Irvine Contemporary art gallery in Washington, DC.


Plates


1 Brassaï Graffiti de la série VIII, La magie, 1935–50


2 Brassaï Graffiti de la série VIII, La magie, 1935–50


3 Brassaï Graffiti, 1935–50


4 BrassaĂŻ Graffiti de la sĂŠrie II, Le langage du mur, 1940


5 Jean Dubuffet Mur au parachute, janvier–mars 1945


6 Jean Dubuffet Angle de mur à l’oiseau perché, 4 janvier 1945


7 Jean Dubuffet Pisseurs au mur, 16 janvier 1945


8 Jean Dubuffet La chasse au biscorne, 19 aoรปt 1963


9 Jean Dubuffet Fantasme bleu, 8 mai 1984


10 Vlassis Caniaris Homage to the Walls of Athens, 1959


11 Vlassis Caniaris Homage to the Walls of Athens, 1959


12 Cy Twombly Untitled, 1969


13 Cy Twombly Untitled, 1976


14 Antoni TÃ pies Duat, 1994


15 Antoni TÃ pies Aixeta, 2003


16 Antoni Tà pies Signes sobre matèria, 2006


17 Manolo Millares Memoria de una excavaciรณn, 1970


18 Manolo Millares Sin tĂ­tulo, 1963


BrassaĂŻ

Too humble, too often scorned, to claim a place in museums graffiti will always possess enough vitality to be carved on the walls of all museums in the world. Words figures acquire on the wall a straightforward a vigorous self-evidence; speech becomes action, and the image, an instrument of magic. Many graffiti born on the walls of Paris have struck me with the force of an event, as if the world were suddenly larger. Endowed with a life of their own, pared down to the bare essentials, as slender, as hard as skeletons, they often impose themselves with all the authority of an authentic artwork. Carving one’s name, one’s love, a date on the wall of a building, such vandalism cannot be explained solely by destructive impulses. I see in it rather the survival instinct of all those who cannot erect pyramids or cathedrals to perpetuate their name. 47


A wall throws down a challenge. Protecting property, defending order, it is a target for protest insult, demands and for every political, sexual, or social passion. Created out of three or four dots or commas, masks and faces assume many different expressions. According to the position or inclination these signs are joyful tragic grotesque or unnerving. These eyes peering out of their orbits in insatiable curiosity, these unhinged stares, are not only eyes of the child. They will also become the “eyes of the wall,” “the gaze of the wall,” as all the faces will become “faces of the wall,” and all the hearts, “hearts of the wall.” Here, everything arises from the material as if predetermined by it. It is the wall that gives to all these graffiti their stylistic unity, their family resemblance as if they had been drawn by the same hand.

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Like primitive man, lovers believe that, by acting on the heart, they can act on the object of their affections. The heart can convey happiness suffering fear hope, the nature of the desire. Visual and poetical inventiveness go hand in hand. Graffiti art is still steeped in magic. Its signs its symbols its figures conjure up a world both obscurely sensed and dreaded.

Strange fauna from the lower depths that the wall frees and thrusts into daylight! For the fabulous beings of more amiable disposition, like fairies satyrs and fauns how many more devils, demons and magicians there are. To all these bizarre denizens of our unseen hell the wall has given a face. 49


The wall belongs to “half-wits,” to the “ill-adapted,” to the “rebellious,” to the simple, to all those of heavy heart. The wall is truancy’s blackboard. The wall, safe haven for what is forbidden, gives a voice to all those who would, without it, be condemned to silence. Branded with the mark of evil, eroticism and violence can there be given free rein. But surely the anguish of touching upon “taboos,” of transgressing them, alerts us to the fact that the wall conserves something “sacred” It exorcises Purifies, liberates all that lies repressed, from all that oppresses.

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BrassaĂŻ, Graffiti, c.1935

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Biographies Gyula Halàsz, known by his adopted pseudonym Brassaï (b. 1899, Braşov, Hungary; d. 1984, Nice, France), was a Hungarian-French photographer and filmmaker. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest, in 1918–19, and the Hochschule der Künste Berlin-Charlottenburg, 1920–22. In 1924, he moved to Paris and began work as a journalist. There he met photographers, Eugène Atget and André Kertész. Brassaï used photography for his assignments and came to appreciate the unique aesthetic qualities of the medium. In the early 1930s, he began to photograph Parisian nightlife, which resulted in the publication of Paris de nuit in 1933. As a photojournalist, Brassaï made an important contribution to the concept of vernacular photography and blurred the distinction between ‘street’ photography and fine art. This reflected his interest in Art Brut and graffiti, which he documented in Paris over a period of time. His first article on graffiti was published in Minotaure in 1933. In 1956, his solo exhibition, Language of the Wall: Parisian Graffiti photographed by Brassaï, was held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The following year, he was awarded the gold medal for photography at the Venice Biennale. Brassaï: Graffiti, a collection of his images and writings was published in 1960, and a book of his Paris photographs, The Secret Paris of the 30’s, was published in 1976, the same year he was awarded Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur.

Vlassis Caniaris (b. 1928 d. 2011, Athens, Greece) is one of the most prominent figures of modern Greek art. He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Athens, and shortly afterward spent time in Rome where he began to experiment with abstraction and the use of everyday materials and objects. His body of work developed from a direct, personal response to post-war Greek history, from the civil war of 1944–49 to the military dictatorship of the late ’60s. Caniaris’ Homage to the Walls of Athens series, using successive, gestural applications of thick layers of matière in plaster, paper and cloth, echoes the surfaces of the city walls of Athens. Fragments of public discourse, inscriptions, faded manuscripts and slogans, buried beneath the whitewash plaster, reveal his social and political concerns. Caniaris’ demonstration of political resistance and the struggle for liberation antagonised the dictatorship in Greece, and he was eventually forced to leave Athens, moving to Paris and later Berlin where he created his Immigrants series, highlighting the displacement of migrant workers to northern Europe. He returned to Athens in 1976 and combining mannequins with ‘wallscapes’, he staged ‘Hélas-Hellas’, 1979–80, in the disused Fix brewery, a representation and comment on daily life in modern Greece. In 1988, Caniaris represented Greece at the Venice Biennale and, in 1999, the National Gallery of Athens held a large retrospective exhibition dedicated to him.

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Jean Dubuffet (b. 1901, Le Havre, France; d. 1985, Paris, France) is widely recognised as the most innovative artist of post-war France. He studied art at the Académie Julian in Paris, before leaving school in 1919 to pursue an independent form of art education. Like many of his generation in Europe in the wake of World War II, Dubuffet sought artistic authenticity outside tradition, in the margins of society. He looked to the art of prisoners, psychics, the uneducated and the insane to liberate his own creativity. He coined the term ‘Art Brut’, a predecessor to outsider art of the late 1940s. In his view, mainstream culture would systematically appropriate and sterilise artistic developments, therefore authentic art could only be created spontaneously, without concern for an audience. In 1944, Dubuffet met Brassaï and had his first solo exhibition at Galerie René Drouin in Paris, which was met with much controversy in its demonstration of his ‘anti-art’ ideology. The following year, he began work on a set of lithographs titled Les murs, fifteen of which were published to accompany poems by Eugène Guillevic. In 1951, Dubuffet delivered his ground-breaking lecture, ‘Anticultural Positions’, at the Arts Club in Chicago. In 1973, the Fondation Dubuffet was established and a major retrospective held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Other important exhibitions have included the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, in 1991; the Centre Pompidou, Paris, in 2001, and the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, in 2003.

Spanish painter, Manolo Millares (b. 1926, Las Palmas, Canary Islands; d. 1972, Madrid, Spain), is renowned for his dramatic ‘collages’ made with burlap sackcloth. Sometimes unpainted, the burlap is stretched taut with pieces sewn together roughly to create tears and voids. Vital, gestural paintwork, in sombre tones of black, white and red, is often spattered and dripped across the surfaces of his paintings. Millares’ work is deeply rooted in his knowledge of the pre-history of the Canary Islands, in particular that of the aboriginal inhabitants, the Guanches. Embalmed corpses of this pre-Hispanic people were known to him from the extensive displays housed in the Museo Canario in Las Palmas. He combined traditional references and pre-history with direct, contemporary expression. A cofounder of the avant-garde movement El Paso, Millares was associated with the Art Informel, which emphasised formal experimentation and political engagement, and was largely responsible for a renewed interest in modern Spanish art. He developed his own visual language inspired by petrograms painted by the Guanches, whose organic forms on cave walls he reconciled with the automatism of the Surrealists. In 1957, Millares’ participation in the Venice Biennale brought international recognition, and his work entered the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Gallery, London; and the Galleria Nazionale, Rome. In 1971, a major solo exhibition of his work was held at the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris.

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Antoni Tàpies (b. 1923 d. 2012, Barcelona, Spain), a Catalan painter, sculptor, printmaker and writer is widely acclaimed for his ‘matter paintings’, incorporating both collage and grattage. As a pioneer of Art Informel, Tàpies used sand, marble dust and wood, as well as paint and varnish to create alchemical paintings which connect base materials with an unseen, metaphysical world. From the 1950s, he limited his palette to raw natural colours: burnt blacks, earthy browns, wine and rust reds, and golden sand. Tàpies’ interest in the linguistic construction and visual appearance of written language is apparent in the development of his own private syntax of ciphers. He was greatly influenced by the thirteenthcentury Catalan mystic Ramon Llull, who devised his own alphabet in which individual letters had their own meanings. His ubiquitous ‘cross’ simultaneously signified the first letter of his surname, a kiss, an erasure, a location, a vote or a mark of faith. In 1952, Tàpies was selected to exhibit at the Venice Biennale and, in 1953, made his first trip to New York. In 1984, the Fundació Antoni Tàpies was founded in Barcelona. Tàpies was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1993. Major retrospectives of his work have been held at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1995; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, in 2000; and the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, in 2004.

American painter and sculptor, Edwin Parker ‘Cy’ Twombly (b. 1928, Lexington, Virginia, USA; d. 2011, Rome, Italy), is celebrated for his freeform, calligraphic painting and drawing. In 1947, he enrolled at the Boston Museum School before joining the Art Students League in New York. He then attended Black Mountain College, North Carolina, in 1951, where he met Franz Kline. Twombly first travelled to Europe and North Africa in 1952, visiting Rome, Florence and Marrakech, among other cities. In the 1950s, he made predominantly large, graffiti-like paintings incorporating scribbles on solid fields of grey, white or black. He practised drawing in the dark, at night, to avoid any prescribed graphic strokes. Focused on the process of writing, script and language became his central motif. In 1957, he spent time in Italy, a place he returned to throughout his life. In Rome, he drew inspiration from the ancient Greco-Roman and contemporary graffiti that surrounded him. He established a vocabulary of signs and marks that read metaphorically, rather than according to any traditional iconography. In 1987, Twombly was elected a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and, in 2001, was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. The Cy Twombly Foundation was established in 2005. In 2008, a major retrospective exhibition of his work opened at Tate Modern, London, touring to the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, and the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome.

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List of Works Please note that, except where indicated, all works are for sale

1 Brassaï Graffiti de la série VIII, La magie 1935–50 silver gelatine print, ed.7/12 15 × 11 in / 38.2 × 28 cm 2 Brassaï Graffiti de la série VIII, La magie 1935–50 silver gelatin print (c.1956) 15 1/2 × 11 1/2 in / 39.3 × 29.1 cm 3 Brassaï Graffiti 1935–50 silver gelatine print 11 1/2 × 9 1/8 in / 29.2 × 23.2 cm 4 Brassaï Graffiti de la série II, Le langage du mur 1940 silver gelatine print (c.1950) 15 7/8 × 19 1/2 in / 40.2 × 49.6 cm 5 Jean Dubuffet Mur au parachute, janvier–mars 1945 1945 lithograph on Arches paper 15 1/4 × 11 in / 38.5 × 28 cm Collection Fondation Dubuffet, Paris 6 Jean Dubuffet Angle de mur à l’oiseau perché, 4 janvier 1945 1945 lithograph on Montval paper 15 × 11 1/4 in / 38 × 28.5 cm Collection Fondation Dubuffet, Paris 7 Jean Dubuffet Pisseurs au mur, 16 janvier 1945 1945 lithograph on Montval paper 15 × 11 1/4 in / 38 × 28.5 cm Collection Fondation Dubuffet, Paris 8 Jean Dubuffet La chasse au biscorne, 19 août 1963 1963 gouache on paper (with 7 pieces of collage) 22 7/8 × 29 3/4 in / 57.7 × 75.2 cm 9 Jean Dubuffet Fantasme bleu, 8 mai 1984 1984 acrylic on paper mounted on canvas 30 × 40 in / 76.2 × 101.6 cm

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10 Vlassis Caniaris Homage to the Walls of Athens 1959 plaster-soaked paper and paint on burlap and wood 41 × 44 7/8 in / 104 × 114 cm Private Collection 11 Vlassis Caniaris Homage to the Walls of Athens 1959 oil and mixed media on canvas 59 7/8 × 52 × 1 15/16 in / 152 × 132 × 5 cm Private Collection 12 Cy Twombly Untitled 1969 pencil, wax crayon, felt-tip pen on paper 23 × 30 3/4 in / 58.4 × 78.1 cm 13 Cy Twombly Untitled 1976 collage (print proof, drawing paper), oil paint, wax crayon, pencil 55 1/8 × 39 3/8 in / 140 × 100 cm 14 Antoni Tàpies Duat 1994 mixed media, collage and assemblage on wood 98 1/2 × 236 1/4 in / 250 × 600 cm 15 Antoni Tàpies Aixeta 2003 mixed media and assemblage on wood 51 1/8 × 63 3/4 in / 130 × 162 cm 16 Antoni Tàpies Signes sobre matèria 2006 mixed media on wood 31 7/8 × 39 3/8 in / 81 × 100 cm Private Collection, New York 17 Manolo Millares Memoria de una excavación 1970 acrylic on canvas 52 3/8 × 48 1/2 in / 133 × 123 cm 18 Manolo Millares Sin título 1963 mixed media on paper mounted on canvas 27 7/8 × 39 3/8 in / 70.7 × 100 cm


Writings on the Wall 17 May – 30 June 2019

Waddington Custot 11 Cork Street London W1S 3LT +44 (0)20 7851 2200 waddingtoncustot.com Monday to Friday 10am–6pm Saturday 10am–4pm

Cat. nos.1–4 © Estate Brassaï Succession. Cat. nos.5–9 © Fondation Dubuffet/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London, 2019. Cat. nos.10–11 © Estate of Vlassis Caniaris. Cat. nos.12–13 © Cy Twombly Foundation. Cat. nos.14–16 © Foundation Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona/VEGAP, Madrid and DACS, London 2019. Cat. nos.17–18 © DACS, London, 2019. p.4 Brassaï, Enfant à la sauvette, Graffiti, c.1931 © Estate Brassaï – RMN- Grand Palais (Photo © RMN-Grand Palais / Michèle Bellot). p.7 Brassaï, Graffiti, Paris © Estate Brassaï – RMN-Grand Palais / Brassaï (Photo © RMN-Grand Palais / Brassaï). p.8 Jean Dubuffet in front of a graffiti wall, Vence, 1959 © Archives Fondation Dubuffet, Paris (Photo: John Craven). pp.47–50 Poem on graffiti by Brassaï © Estate Brassaï Succession. Translated from original French text by David Radzinowicz © Flammarion, Paris, 2002. p.51 Brassaï, Graffiti de la série II, Le langage du mur, c.1935–50 © Estate Brassaï – RMN-Grand Palais (Photo © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Adam Rzepka). Cover image: cat. no.4 Essay by Martin Irvine © Martin Irvine, 2019 Published by Waddington Custot Co-ordinated by Miranda Chance and Clare Preston Designed by Mark El-khatib Printed by Plitt, Oberhausen, Germany © Waddington Custot, London, 2019 ISBN 978-1-9164568-4-6

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Writings on the Wall