Andre Malraux: Dessins – Dyables

May 25, 1995 - July 08, 1995

Yoshii Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of over 200 small drawings by André Malraux, between the years 1946-1966, from the collection of Madeleine Malraux.

Malraux’s dyables are parenthetical sketches found in his letters and manuscripts or on scraps of paper; brief departures from the author’s literary activities. These figurative marginalia display a simplicity of line rendered in curvilinear patterns to create imaginary characters of ambiguous origin. Using a playfully cursive line, Malraux imbues his dyables with a carnivalesque air where everyday objects are transformed into various intangibles; a dove-like creature becomes the devil for sweetness, the face of a dog is labeled the devil of fidelity, and a G-clef symbolizes music itself.

Each dyable offers a glimpse into Malraux’s fascination for farfelu (fantasy)–an affinity which Malraux makes obvious in the early texts Lunes en papier, Ecrit pour une idole á trompe and Royaume farfelu. As Michelle Michel writes of Malraux’s fanciful images in her introduction to the exhibition catalogue, “balanced between rationality and irrationality, these frozen frames leave us with prints of daily worries and enable us to follow, in a different guise, the mind’s meanderings.” Similar to “automatic” writing, Malraux’s dessins escape the factual and present characters which reveal a surrealist view of the commonplace.

André Malraux (1901-1976) was a poet and author of such novels as Man’s Fate and Metamorphosis of the Gods, in addition to his writings on aesthetics, most notably Voices of Silence and Museum Without Walls. He served in World War II, was an active supporter of the Republican Spanish government, and was State Minister of Cultural Affairs in France under the de Gaulle administration.