Tribute to Jacques Villeglé

Jacques, Marie, Bertrand, Mahé de La Villeglé, known as “Jacques Villeglé”, born March 27, 1926 in Quimper, is a French visual artist.
He died on June 6, 2022 at the age of 96.

From February 1949 with Hains, Jacques Villeglé began to collect lacerated posters.

In October 1960, he joined the New Realists movement.

He creates works from posters torn by anonymous passers-by or damaged by climatic conditions by taking them off their support in the street. After having made a choice in the posters collected, he operates in the poster, like a photographer, a framing, sometimes, but rarely, he recomposes a poster from different pieces of poster, then maroufles them on canvas and signs them when he gives them up. The challenge is to make a popular work with these street posters “reflections of the dominant culture”. This superposition, through the different posters, reveals an infinity of associations and new meanings.

In 1961, he created Carrefour Sèvres / Montparnasse, a torn poster with dazzling colors spotted by the Americans and which allowed the artist to obtain the label of precursor of pop art. He differs from Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein by the importance given to the formal dimension, to the plastic qualities of the poster and not to slogans and brands.

Jacques Villeglé becomes a street archaeologist by restoring a part of the collective memory devoted to oblivion or destruction. His sources of inspiration multiplied with the emergence and development of the consumer society with the progressive domination of advertising. The official or wild posters are of great formal diversity with a wide palette of colors. By using these posters, it was necessary that the slogan be illegible by removing a word, a letter so that it is no longer recognizable. It’s not about making propaganda but about telling stories. The image must become a work with commercial or political allusions.

If Jacques Villeglé is fond of the world of images, he also shows a great interest in typography, graphic research and poetry.

The creation of his socio-political Alphabet began with the identification in 1969 of a particular graffiti on a subway wall.

He introduces more and more figures in his alphabet and since 2010 has been interested in cryptography.