Le plan libre - 1st chapter
In a film made for Radio-Télévision Suisse in 1976, Marcelle Cahn, then aged 80, set about making collages in her bedroom-studio at the Galignani foundation in Paris. On her bed, there was a mess of stickers, cut up cardboard, post cards, envelopes and assorted stationery, forming the raw materials of work reduced to utter simplicity, in which intuition and fantasy came together in a constant concern for rigour and lightness which can be found in all her work, from the cubist paintings of the 1920s up to the pictures of lines punctuated with embossed spheres, suggesting musical and graphic scores. These principles grew even stronger in these tiny collages which she made at the end of her life, isolated in her room. The exhibition Le Plan libre [Open Plan], whose form and title have been inspired by the modernist architectural concept of eliminating bearing walls, pays homage to Marcelle Cahn’s final period and places it in a dialogue with other artists, brought together here with no chronological or geographic boundaries, but for their similar attitudes and formal chimes. Like Marcelle Cahn, Pierrette Bloch, Hessie, Georges Koskas, Guy Mees, Francisco Tropa or else Elisabeth Wild use an intimate, ludic, free approach to abstraction and artistic practice which, as opposed to fleeting enthusiasms, stands out as a vital, timeless necessity. Though Marcelle Cahn often stood on the margins, she still remained open to the currents and conversations of her time, but without ever shutting herself up in the doctrines of a school. She built up her own language independently and, in moments of doubt and danger, she encouraged other artists to develop their own.