Henri Michaux: The Other Side at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, February 2 – May 13, 2018

“The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Henri Michaux: The Other Side, an exhibition which brings together a prominent set of works by an unclassifiable figure of the arts and literature of the 20th century. Over the course of his long life, Henri Michaux (Namur, Belgium, 1899–Paris, France, 1984) greatly influenced the artists and writers of his time, both as a “poets’ poet” and a “painters’ painter”, lionized by figures in both fields like André Gide and Francis Bacon.

Michaux feverishly produced thousands of works on paper whose full extent is only now becoming apparent. This exhibition, organized in collaboration with the Michaux Archives in Paris, covers sixty years of Michaux’s creative activity, focusing on his most important periods and series. Bringing together some 230 of the artist’s pieces, documents and objects, Henri Michaux: The Other Side is organized around three principal themes, offering a panoramic view of each: the human figure, the alphabet and the altered psyche.

While highlighting the parallels and convergences among these three themes, the exhibition underscores this artist’s unflagging interest in science, musicology, and ethnography. Some of Michaux’s fundamental series, like the fonds noirs (black backgrounds), the frottages (rubbings), the mouvements (movements), and the dessins mescaliniens (mescaline drawings), are amply represented in this show, which includes works never exhibited before.” — Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

The Night Prince (Le Prince de la nuit), 1937. Watercolor and gouache on black paper, 323 x 245 mm. Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Gift Mr. Daniel Cordier, 1976. © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Migeat

Untitled, 1938. Watercolor and gouache on black paper, 230 x 305 mm. Private collection © Archives Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018. Photo: Jean-Louis Losi

Untitled, 1938–39. Gouache on black paper, 100 x 130 mm. Private collection, Paris © Archives Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018. Photo: Jean-Louis Losi

Untitled, 1944 India ink on paper, 240 x 320 mm. Private collection © Archives Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018. Photo: Jean-Louis Losi

Untitled, 1950. India ink on honeycomb paper, 320 x 240 mm. Private collection © Archives Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018 © FMGB Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa. Photo: Erika Barahona Ede

Untitled, 1956. India ink and pencil on paper, 240 x 162 mm. Private collection © Archives Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018

Mescaline painting (Peinture mescalinienne), 1956. Oil and gouache on paper, 420 x 270 mm. Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Gift Mr. Daniel Cordier, 1976. © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Philippe Migeat © Archives Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018 © FMGB Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa. Photo: Erika Barahona Ede

Untitled, 1970. Watercolor and acrylic on paper, 560 x 375 mm. Private collection © Archives Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018 © FMGB Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa. Photo: Erika Barahona Ede

Untitled, 1979. India ink on paper, 640 x 905 mm. Private collection © Archives Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018. Photo: Jean-Louis Losi

Untitled, 1981. Acrylic, India ink and pencil on paper, 500 x 650 mm. Private collection © Archives Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018

Untitled, 1981. Watercolor on paper, 367 x 270 mm. Private collection © Archives Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018 © FMGB Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa. Photo: Erika Barahona Ede

Untitled, 1982. Ink and watercolor on paper, 500 x 325 mm. Private collection, France © Archives Henri Michaux, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018. Photo : Suzanne Nagy

Exhibition was curated by Manuel Cirauqui.

Images courtesy Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.