The Barnebys team met Damien and Manuela Boquet in their Paris office-gallery where they greeted us warmly with Italian coffee.

blog.php-1369 Gallery Damien Boquet Art
Image: Courtesy of Barnebys

Damien and Manuela gave us the opportunity to understand the history of the gallery and their adoration for drawings and paintings of the 19th and 20th centuries. Since 1997, Damien Boquet has specialized in Modern Art from Impressionism to the Post-war period.

More recently, the gallery has turned their focus to international Avant-gardes works from the 1920s to 1950s, especially Dada and Surrealism.

blog.php-1370 Gallery Damien Boquet Art
Image: Courtesy of Barnebys

From 22nd to 27th March, Damien Boquet will exhibit at the Salon du Dessin a particularly interesting selection around the theme of the Mask and its Double, A History of the Avant-gardes between Shadow and Light (1922-1948).

An ambitious and beautiful program, Damien Boquet insists on the curating a selection for this kind of events: "We want to explain the history of several pieces from the Avant-gardes under the exciting theme of theater and the mask.''

blog.php-1371 Gino SEVERINI
Tête de Polichinelle; c. 1922-1923
Charcoal on paper

This museum quality exhibition will focus on the period from 1922 to 1948 where artistic creation and renewal were particularly dynamic. Works from the Avant-garde are revealing, the opposite of illusion and yet these works focus on the 'Art of the Spectacle,' through theatre, cabarets and disguise.

There is a contradiction within this theme of theatre: masks reveal more than they hide. "These are representations of the fragility and loneliness of those who create (painters, actors, poets, fashion designers)" Damien Boquet writes in the catalogue dedicated to this exhibition. "In short, strangely, these masks are intimate portraits, they reveal more than they conceal."

blog.php-1372 Victor BRAUNER Untitled, 1941
Graphite and gouache on paper
Image: Courtesy of Barnebys

Whatever the historical period, artists share in their art what they feel deep within themselves. In the 1920s, the end of the war gave way to a joyful period and the mask was rather playful. In the 1930s, the rise of totalitarianism and the fear of a second conflict gave way to a much more tragic mask. During World War II, artists were marked by violence and evil, and the mask became demonic, almost shamanic.

blog.php-1373 Victor BRAUNER
Untitled, 1941
Graphite and gouache on paper
Image: Courtesy of Barnebys

The works on paper that Damien Boquet will be presenting at Salon du Dession are living testimonies of these troubled periods of our history. "The paper has a more spontaneous, more intimate, more intellectual side," explains 20th century specialist.

Beyond the picture there is a historical dimension that makes it possible to apprehend the work in all its complexity. There is a real human element and realistic reading of these works. "These artists are more than artists, they are revolutionaries" states Damien Boquet.

"The Mask and its Double: A History of the Avant-gardes between Shadow and Light (1922-1948)" will be exhibited from 22nd-27th March, 2017, at the Salon du Dessin (Palais Brongniart, Place de la Bourse, Paris 2nd) by Damien Boquet Art (stand 34).

A catalogue of the exhibition in its entirety edited by Damien Boquet will soon be available.

Comment