It’s an exhibition that resonates with the news. In the midst of the trial of the attacks of November 13, the National School of Fine Arts has exhibited since September 8 41 drawings by Georges Wolinski, former designer of Charlie hebdo, assassinated on January 7, 2015 by the Kouachi brothers. Works offered by his companion, Maryse Wolinski, which will join the collection of 25,000 Fine Arts drawings, but will above all be shown first, which was of primary importance to his widow: “I am completely destroyed by what is happening. ‘happened… I lost my love. Hence the fact of perpetuating this spirit, ”says the one who also wants to create
a House of press cartoon and satirical drawing.
Maryse Wolinski, who made the choice of drawings with her daughter-in-law, chose her husband’s old school for her donation. Georges Wolinski, as explained by the former pen of Charlie seriously injured on January 7, 2015, Philippe Lançon, “was not a good student”, and had chosen this school which took without requiring the bac, which he had not passed. He did not finish the Beaux-Arts either, which he had to leave on the way to go to do his military service, in the middle of the Algerian war.
“Contemporary art is definitely baffling me”
The Wolinski showroom is small, but the works are funny and sassy and provide an opportunity to question the world of contemporary art. With which Wolinski has a very hard tooth. “His approach to contemporary art is reactionary,” says Emmanuelle Brugerolles, one of the exhibition’s curators, bluntly.
Take for example this ironic Tribute to Arman, painter and sculptor of New Realism known for his “accumulations” of forks, chariots, Ferraris and flags. We see him there facing Monica Bellucci, who tells him: “Arman, are you not fed up with breaking, dirtying, stacking, accumulating, denting, piling up …”. And the artist responds, “What do you want me to do, Monica?” Or let us take again this board full of text, where Wolinski is unleashed against Boltanski, which he sums up to a “muddy stream of alcoholic words, of senile commonplaces”, greedy for money: “Decidedly contemporary art debuts me. Boltanski is clever, he is not stupid, he understood this time when the money of the bonuses makes it possible to buy provocation. “
Jeff Koons, his scapegoat
Everything in contemporary art was to be thrown away, in Wolinski’s eyes. There was no exception, according to his wife. He even made fun of his friend Caesar, with whom he gladly went on trips, for example by transforming his Thumb monumental of 12 meters in a gigantic cock admired by the spectators. Another snub to the egos of artists …
For Maryse Wolinksi, her detestation of contemporary art began some 30 years ago at the Fondation Cartier. “I remember that we entered, there was a kind of canvas with which we clean floors, placed on a kind of pole. And since it was the first work we saw, he started to say “it’s not possible, I don’t understand, there’s nothing to understand”. He said that “art is beautiful”, and there, for him, there was nothing beautiful. “
His main scapegoat was undoubtedly Jeff Koons. Regarding this kitsch-style American artist who has never ceased to produce steel dogs or rabbits imitating vulgar balloons, Wolinksi was intractable. “The press is filled with articles on Jeff Koons. Not a single journalist dares say it’s crap. Jeff adores Manet, Courbet, but he carves huge inflatable caterpillars. It pleases that idiot from Pinault. Before, the rich loved the art of firefighting. Today they are playing smart by buying scandal at a high price. The problem is that the scandal is no longer scandalous, ”he wrote in 2008, in Charlie hebdo.
Testimony of an era
“He said he” stopped at Ingres “, that’s an old idiot,” laughs Maryse Wolinksi, who could not help delighting in his mischief with tenderness. “We worked in our apartment, he liked to see me at my desk, and I also saw him at his drawing board. He always had a smirk when he drew… Or his eyes shining… I was like “what’s going to get us out…?”. She recalls, a smile in her voice.
There are certain things, however, that his companion does not endorse, and which will not fail to question the spectators, and especially the spectators. The exhibition is indeed full of naked women, sometimes ridiculed. Maryse Wolinksi remembers dancers from a Mathieu Amalric film, described as “bitches”, which made her jump. “I couldn’t stand this provocation, I’m completely MeToo, I’m a feminist,” she tells us.
Could Wolinski still draw the same way in this post-MeToo era? Maybe, maybe not, hesitates his widow. What is certain, according to Emmanuelle Brugerolles, is that certain drawings will “open the debate in the school. These are drawings that bear witness to an era. Careless and a pleasure to live. I save him like this. “
- School of Fine Arts in Paris. 14 rue Bonaparte, Paris 6th. Until October 3. From Wed to Sun 1 pm-7pm – Closed Mon and Tue Responsible ticket office: 2 euros, 5 euros or 10 euros depending on your choice.