Jacques Villeglé was quick to realise that torn posters were transforming the walls of the city into an animated and constantly renewed screen of signs, images and colours, a surprising spectacle that could provide the substance for a comprehensive and generous body of work. The character of the Lacéré anonyme (Anonymous Tear) allowed him to consolidate his position and to affirm that his personal activity should be limited to selecting the posters in keeping with his intentions and circumstances, and to deciding their format and how to crop them. “Jacques Villeglé will present posters following in the footsteps of the Lacéré anonyme”: such were the words printed on the invitation to his first solo show. This invention of the Lacéré anonyme is not a negation of the author; on the contrary, it is the invention of an author whose ambition is to produce a body of work worthy of Balzac’s Comédie humaine, i.e. an urban comedy teeming with characters of all kinds. The artist’s catalogue raisonné, which lists several thousand works, all different, represents a corpus that places Villeglé among the most imaginative painters of recent times.* By presenting the series of “Small Formats”, the gallery wishes to honour Villeglé’s variety. Here, five decades of art-making are represented in a selection of small masterpieces measuring no more than twenty centimetres square. This is a “mini” nod to the magnificent retrospective of the artist’s work that has just closed at the Pompidou Centre.
*Freely based on Catherine Francblin, “Le bon génie de Jacques Villeglé“ in Jacques Villeglé. La comédie urbaine, Centre Pompidou (2008)