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Lam and the poets

Lam and the poets

Rare books, engravings and prints

The Cuban painter Wilfredo Lam (1902-1982) was born to a Chinese father and an Afro-Hispanic mother, with France becoming his adopted country from the 1930s. Lam was the pioneer of a mixed-origin style of painting fusing Western modernism with African and Caribbean symbols. He rubbed shoulders with all the avant-garde movements of his time (cubism, surrealism, CoBrA) – movements that encouraged freedom and sought access to the unconscious or explorations of the fantastic via automatic writing.

Lam was also attuned to the problems of the world. In his work, he confronted the same struggle as his friend Aimé Césaire: “to depict the drama of his country – both the struggle and the spirit of black people.” Being part of the literary scene of the period meant coming into contact with the greatest French poets. And it was here that the painter developed a style of etching that was sensitive, free and fluid. Over a hundred etchings are presented in this exhibition. These were originally produced to illustrate the work of André Breton, Aimé Césaire, René Char, Antonin Artaud, etc.

In addition to André Breton, Lam developed a close friendship with Aimé Césaire. The two men met in Fort-de-France where Lam had ended up after fleeing France following the German invasion. He did the illustrations for the Cuban edition of Césaire’s Notebook of a Return to the Native Land. In the 1950s and 1960s he collaborated with André Pieyre de Mandiargues (The Black Cruiser) and especially with René Char for his wonderful book To the Serpent’s Health. Lam also worked with Ghérasim Luca on Apostroph Apocalypse, and this masterpiece, as much for its text and illustrations as for its printing and typography, will be displayed in its entirely here.

Wifredo Lam (1902-1082) was born in Cuba to a Chinese father and an Afro-Hispanic mother in the year the Republic was declared after more than three centuries of Spanish rule. From the 1930s, France became his adopted country, where he would become the pioneer of a mixed-origin style of painting fusing Western modernism with African and Caribbean symbols. Lam’s life would be peppered with voyages (Spain, France, Sweden, Mexico, the United States) and significant encounters (Picasso, Braque, Matisse, John Cage, Calder, Matta). His work is marked by both his own mixed origin and his fight for freedom and justice: “to depict the drama of his country – both the struggle and the spirit of black people.” In 2015-16 a retrospective of Lam’s work took place at the Pompidou Centre, the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid, and at the Tate Modern in London.

 

 

07.05.2016 - 31.05.2016

 

Millenium World Art Museum

No.9A, Fuxing Road

Haidian district, Beijing, Beijing

 

Phone : 010-84187900

 

28.06.2016 - 07.08.2016
Free entrance

 

Guangdong Museum of Art

38, Yan Yu Lu, Er Sha Island

Yuexiu district, Guangzhou, Guangdong

 

Phone : 020-87351468

 

04.09.2016 15:00 - 30.10.2016
Free entrance

 

Wenlin Gallery

93 Wenlin Jie

Wuhua district, Kunming, Yunnan