Pierre Alechinsky


“My handwriting is clumsy. That’s not surprising, I’m a left-hander from the 1930s – “make them use their right hand”, they used to say. What of piece of luck! My left hand remained free for stroking, slapping, for instinctive movements and for drawing. When I draw big letters with a paintbrush, it’s always with my “clumsy” left hand. My right hand is happy to let it do so. About 10 years ago, I thought up a collection of Titles to choose from. You might try to describe an image with gestures miming water, earth, air and fire, it’s still better to give it a title. Paintings without a title are like orphaned children. I’ve come back to that list of titles.”

In 1947 Pierre Alechinsky is 20 years old: first paintings, first exhibition. In 1949 he joins the CoBrA group, a movement which advocates spontaneity and experimentation. Painters write and writers paint. The group breaks up 3 years later. Alechinsky continues in that same vein: drawing and painting. After the CoBrA period, Micky and Pierre Alechinsky leave Brussels and set up shop in Paris. In 1955, they go to the Far East to make a film: Japanese Calligraphy. In the 1960s in New York, Alechinsky discovers acrylic paint which, better than oil paint,makes his brush as swift as a writer’s pen. From then on he will use acrylic for his paintings with “remarks in the margin”. This is what he calls his comments in little drawings which can be read just like words.