Lyon People

Sussex chicken

(Translated from French by JLB)

How far away it is on that day in 1925, precisely June 7, when the merry men of the Ziniar group founded the Salon du Sud-est, a fitting representation of the desire to go beyond Modernity expressed by the founders of the Salon d’Automne, Eugène Brouillard and Jacques Martin.   

Today, the picture rails are occupied by people who have been turned away from official events. I make this comparison because here are many artists who consider themselves as professionals, which is not the case of the Hivernal, Regain, or Watercolourists. Among the latter, the premium is given to noble amateurism, detached from the obsession of selling at any price. It is not easy to run a salon and a gallery. Never would the founders of the South-East have tolerated such an amalgamation. From now on, one does anything to survive. The spirit is no higher than that of the Mapra. We are in the reign of quantity. Let’s start with the best in my eyes, everything being subjective, your opinions may be different from mine and I respect them. Eléna Brugo never disappoints us, her simplicity of means and her ability to lead us to the essential have been convincing us for a long time. Georges Darodes must remain in larger formats. Very important for the quality of the translation of his cryptic and anachronistic messages in our uneducated society. Jacques Dekerle adopts an insider’s language against the tide. If he feels misunderstood, he doesn’t feel sorry. In 2010 Favrène demonstrates his ease, his full agreement with himself, his painting radiates easily. Alice Gaillard produces her work stubbornly, those who love her will recognise her in this way. Marc Josserand is a sure value of this show. He will never cheat. He only lets his exalted heart and soul speak. Madeleine Lambert had a destiny as an architect. You can feel it in her compositions of recent years.

Then the worst, and first of all the most famous: Jacques Truphémus in the lead. Dare I dare to damage the reputation of the idol by saying that out of the three works presented, two are real tartouzes, trying spinach dishes? Marie-Thérèse Bourrat was no longer a great fan of the art critic René Deroudille in the last years of her life. What would he say to his submissions this year? Three works out of four are rather mediocre, a fate of the lot for this mutinous side which made the glory of this artist. I’ll let you find out which one. His friend, Juliette Beaudroit reveals certain impulses. Painting can also serve this purpose. Régis Bernard will never win in a sprint, like his cyclists stuck in the material. Alain Demond’s canvases seem to be frozen, stuck in time, which is decidedly passing too quickly for him. François Dupuis is a follower of Rustin. There are so many plagiarists here that we could not name them all. Gilbert Houbre composes canvases from another era, as can be seen in the Northern Territories, Belgium and Flanders. Mathias Souverbie claims to be a sculptor. He bears a famous name, without making good use of it.

Among our true pleasures is Jane Le Besque, who expresses all the poetic vehemence of an exuberant and rebellious England.

Alain Roll puts all his energy into his canvases. They are, like him, constructed, resistant, yes, robust and bearers of convictions, even if man is sometimes affected by doubt, whether it be still lifes or landscapes, such as those of Switzerland, which he often visits. Françoise Turin is also an outsider artist, as the trendy say. She deserves your interest. Let us pay tribute to the determinism of Marcelle Benhamou. Ariel who now draws characters of a more imposing format to serve religious themes such as the Nativity. A tradition in his research when we know the vocation he rightly attributed to himself as an illustrator of the Bible. Evelyne Postic is accomplished in large formats.

The members of the Salon honour four lost talents. Thérèse Contestin whom I am very proud to have brought to the Fabuloserie de Caroline et Alain Bourbonnais in Dicy in the Yonne. Paul Siché, about whom I made a book a few years before his death, while bringing him back to the forefront with a monumental exhibition on the mezzanine floor of the Crédit Lyonnais. Claudette Espallergues, a Vailleoise like me (I apologise for attaching events to my little person in this way) who suffered so much during her final years. These characters deserve to appear in the line of the artists of the Singular Art named landscaped inhabitants by the famous defender of Art Brut and Art Outside the Standards, Michel Ragon. Jean Raine, who was never Cobra – let’s stop rewriting history – would have been terribly angry when he saw himself tucked away in a living room. Alcohol sometimes attributes salutary judgements. Long live Jean Raine, the inalienable subversive!… This good-looking guy had become a monster in contact with our sly minds. This is why I still admire him. Please, don’t make him a polite and well-bred being!… We can still evoke Champin de Lyon who forsakes his portraits of local personalities for a surprising plunge in the straw and the flora, Evelyne Chevalier always at ease in her description of our secret city. Colette Collovray subtle in her use of mixed techniques. Michel Rémy Bez, the man of crumpled newsprint, plays the opportunist by paying homage to “the two colleagues still retained” according to the formula consecrated by the media. A very useless and disappointing approach for an artist whom we knew to be more surprising and independent. A show with the worst and the best, and always the possibility to make a discovery…

Jane Le Besque