Although from very different origins and cultures, Dogançay (born in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1929) and Villeglé (born in Quimper, France, in 1926) share the same interest in the city. Whereas Dogançay soon felt the need to travel and find out what was happening elsewhere, Villeglé moved to Paris and henceforth participated in the collective “Nouveau Réalisme” adventure. Although Dogançay’s art was originally based primarily on conventional pictorial practices –almost exclusively gouaches and watercolours, standing as a testimony to his numerous journeys– since the mid-1960s he has taken his themes uniquely from images and signs seen on the walls of the cities he has traversed. As of 1949, Villeglé’s art has been based on collecting a world of ready-made “paintings” that are offered to him by “anonymously torn posters” that he saw when exploring the city.
Collage [gluing, pasting] in the first case, décollage [tearing down, unpeeling] in the second: these two practices characterize two sets of attitudes that, if not parallel, converge, and summon up a world of colourful icons founded on the theme of the city or images, absorbed into uncompromisingly abstract compositions. The idea of bringing together two leading artists of their generation in the same exhibition aims to reveal to viewers the similarities, as well as the differences between Dogançay and Villeglé, whose works anticipate, in their own way, the arrival of “graffiti” art as part of the same aesthetic impulse.
Collage D écollage
Burhan DO Ğ ANÇAY
Burhan Dogançay was born in Istanbul in 1929. He obtained his early artistic training from his father and Arif Kaptan. While studying at the University of Paris, from which he holds a doctorate in economics, he took art classes at L’Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Following a brief career with the government, he decided in 1964 to devote himself entirely to art and to make New York his permanent home.
Long fascinated by urban walls, Dogançay chose them as his subject. In the mid-1970s, he embarked on another project: photographing urban walls. Over time, this project has gained in importance and content and, after nearly four decades, now encompasses more than a hundred countries. In 1982, photographs from this project comprised a one-man exhibition at the Georges Pompidou Center. Dogançay’s photographs of urban walls are an archive of our time and provide the seeds for his paintings.
His preferred medium is collage, the posters and objects he gathers from walls forming the main ingredient for his work, augmented to some extent with fumage. Dogançay re-creates walls in different series, relating to colours, graffiti-types, or the objects he incorporates in his pieces.
He is the recipient of many awards and his work appears in numerous publications, including, Urban Walls: A Generation of Collage in Europe & America (Hudson Hills Press, 2008). His work is included in major museums around the world.
He lives with his wife Angela Dogançay in New York and Istanbul where the Dogançay Museum was inaugurated in 2004. He also maintains a studio in Turgutreis.
Collage D écollage
Jacques Villeglé was born in Quimper, France, in 1926. In 1947, he began in Saint-Malo to collect found objects: steel wire, bits of debris, etc. from France’s World War II Atlantic Wall. In 1949, he narrowed the focus of his appropriations to torn posters. In 1954, together with his intellectual partner, Raymond Hains, Villeglé made the acquaintance of the Lettriste poet François Dufrêne who introduced them to Yves Klein, Pierre Restany and Jean Tinguely, with whom, after appearing together at the first Biennale de Paris, they formed the Nouveaux Réalistes group in Milan in 1960.
Before that, in 1958, Villeglé, wrote a text on his torn posters, Des Réalités collectives, which prefigured Nouveau Réalisme. Since then he has been considered as the historian of the lacéré anonyme (anonymous tear), a term he coined in 1959.
Since 1957, Villeglé’s work has been shown in over 150 solo exhibitions in Europe and America as well as numerous group shows all over the world. His works, which can be found in the collections of major European and American museums, are the subject of many publications, including seven of nineteen volumes on his thematic and exhaustive catalogue of his torn posters.
In 2007, his work featured in the Nouveau Réalisme exhibition at the Grand Palais, Paris, and at the Sprengel Museum, Hanover. After the exhibition held at Pera Museum, a retrospective exhibition was held at Airs de Paris at the Centre Georges Pompidou, 2008.
Collage Decollage, Doğançay- Villegié