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Galerie Christophe Gaillard and Galerie Christian Berst are particularly proud to host the exhibition Leons des ténèbres de Fernand Desmoulin, from December 3, 2009 to January 9, 2010.

This original exhibition presents very rare mediumistic drawings by Fernand Desmoulin made during his spiritualist period, from 1900 to 1902. The spiritism fever of the time gave this complex artist, asphyxiated by his activity as a painter and academic engraver that he never had the strength to leave, a liberating breath of fresh air, carrying an exceptional, magnetic, instantly dazzling mediumnic work, to which André Breton himself would have liked to pay homage with a publication that only his death prevented.

Emerging vaporous silhouettes, feverish psyche thrown on the sheet in nervous writing, sinuous lines and inspired cross-outs, an almost spider-like weave, a mental oscilloscope electrically retranscribed on paper, Fernand Desmoulin’s work strikes by its incredible richness, by the brilliant intrusion of the latter in what Henri Michaux calls “the space of the inside”, that of the inner voices, a virtual witness of a psyche heavy with conflict that makes him the most innovative and the most singular of the spiritualist artists.

His work retraces the long mental journey of a man who penetrates ever more deeply into the meanders of his inner voice.
unconscious. The different stages of this initiatory journey are revealed as the drawings unfold, while the evanescent forms, pale ghostly and volatile faces, furtive spirits painfully emerging from a quivering chrysalis, turn into alveolar shapes revealing some barely sketched head. Then the forms disappear, giving way to a labyrinthine, seismographic writing, an involuntary gateway to a tortured superego, the final mark of a plunge into the unknown dangerously bordering on the point of no return.

Fernand Desmoulin’s fleeting mediumistic creations heralded the most daring revolutions and formal explorations at the dawn of the 20th century.

Fernand Desmoulin
Fernand Desmoulin - © christian berst — art brut

At the dawn of the 20th century, this academic painter experienced a liberating breathing space during a two-year break. From this period originated an exceptional spirits work, acclaimed by André Breton as soon as 1933. Drawings born of a trance and executed in pencil, his ectoplasmic work hints at arachnid frames, feverish faces, and oscillations dictated by his tutelary mind. Collected for more than a century, Fernand Desmoulins is now part of the collections of the Museum of LaM (France), Antoine de Galbert (France), and was shown in the last exhibition of the maison rouge (Paris): L’envol ou Le rêve de voler.

Press review
Fernand Desmoulin
Le Monde. December 28, 2009.
fernand desmoulin

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