From October 12, 2010 through March 13, 2011 the Fondation Cartier pour lart contemporain
presents MOEBIUSTRANSE- FORME, the first major exhibition in Paris devoted to the work of Jean Giraud, known by his pseudonyms Gir and Moebius. An icon of incomparable stature in the world of comics, an inventor of extraordinary forms and a brilliant cartoonist, Moebius is an artist who goes beyond the traditional boundaries of the discipline. Following the artists wishes, this exhibition explores the theme of metamorphosis, a leitmotif that runs throughout his comics, drawings, and film projects. In relation to this theme, the exhibition also presents the first 3-D animated film directed by the artist, La Planète encore, along with the stories from the original comic boards. With landscapes and characters in perpetual transformation, his drawings explore the boundaries of the unconscious and reveal an imaginary and fantastic world. Through often sudden and disturbing metamorphoses of a character or a setting, Moebius reveals a world where appearances are not as stable as they may seem.
The exhibition MOEBIUS-TRANSE-FORME arose from a long collaboration between Moebius and the Fondation Cartier pour lart contemporain, who presented his work for the first time in 1999 as part of 1 monde réel, an exhibition that explored the connections between reality, fiction and science fiction. At that time, two unpublished notebooks of the artist, which are now part of the Fondation Cartier collection, were on display. The exhibition also provided the opportunity for the artist to converse with the philosopher and urbanist Paul Virilio, as well as with the astronaut Jean-Pierre Haigneré at the Mir space station.
A POLYMORPHIC OEUVRE
For some fifty years, Jean Giraud has developed a broad palette of styles ranging from the detailed realism of Blueberry to the fantastical drawings of Arzach and 40 days dans le Désert B. He is particularly renowned for his futuristic landscapes populated by hybrid creatures and ultra-sophisticated spaceships, where the strange and uncanny may lead to daydreams of a metaphysical nature. Known throughout the world, his work has been profoundly influential over the past thirty years in the realms of science fiction, animation, advertising, 3-D film, video games and movies. Major film directors with whom he would later collaborate such as Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Diva), James Cameron (Abyss, underwater creatures), Steven Lisberger (Tron, costumes), Ridley Scott (Alien, costumes) and René Laloux (the animated feature film Les Maîtres du temps) first became familiar with his work through his drawings.
A CHANGING ARTISTIC IDENTITY
Gir and Moebius, both pseudonyms of Jean Giraud, reflect his own shifting artistic identity. Jean Giraud first used the name Gir in 1963 when he collaborated with Jean-Michel Charlieron Blueberry, a highly popular Western comic series. At that same time, he published his first series in Hara-Kiri under the pseudonym Moebius, a name inspired by the German mathematician and astronomer famous for discovering the Moebius strip. The artist views the dual nature of his identity as similar to the way that the Moebius strip joins its two sides to form a continuum. Going from Giraud to Moebius, I twisted the strip and changed dimension. I was the same, yet I was another.
Moebius is the product of my duality. Gir and Moebius each exist within their own world views and their own styles. Gir is the author of classic Hollywood Westerns, whereas Moebius explores the worlds of dreams and science fiction. Gir adheres to the traditional narrative forms of comic strip art, Moebius, on the other hand, transgresses these conventions. While Gir uses photography and film as his source to portray landscape and characters of the West with baroque details, Moebius employs techniques related to the surrealist dessin automatique to create a world in constant flux.
Throughout Moebius work run many stories of ever-changing bodies. In Le Garage hermétique, Le Monde dEdena and LIncal, forms are porous and constantly change from one state to another. Human, animal, plant and mineral elements dissolve and merge. Moebiuss metamorphoses include any number of incongruous disruptive mutations: beings become petrified and disintegrate, men become women, the young turn old, spaghetti-like forms or hideous protuberances invade the body. Metamorphosis is not only present in the artists drawings, it also plays a key role in the creative process that Moebius has developed over the years. The desert, dreams, meditation and crystals are all considered by the artist as metaprocesses that stimulate a release from bodily experience, a transgression of artistic conventions, the creation of new forms through trance. These intense experiences lead him to explore the bizarre and the fantastic, and in his drawings, challenge the laws of reason and plausibility.
SCIENCE AND THE PURSUIT OF METAPHYSICS
While the first part of the exhibition presents the characters and worlds of Moebius through an exhibition design that calls to mind the well-known eponymous strip, the second part, presents drawings in which anything seems possible. Here, metamorphoses might occur suddenly or develop sequentially, yet they always arise unpredictably. In accordance with the artists desires, his works are presented thematically and organized in groups: metamorphic, abstract and hybrid forms; metaprocesses perceived as a means to facilitate transformation; and metamorphosis as it appears in his drawings. As exemplified in his paintings of organic and chaotic forms, as well as the drawings of Le chasseur déprime and 40 days dans le Désert B., Moebius fascination for transformation reveals his passion for science and the observation of nature. An aficionado of astrophysics, genetics and philosophy, his pursuit of metaphysics and his inquiry into the origins of the universe and of humans transpires in the realm of the imagination. Conceived as a continuation of the exhibition, the catalogue discloses a new aspect of Moebius scientific concerns through a previously unpublished interview with Michel Cassé 2 in which interwoven dreams become a world without hope.
LA PLANÈTE ENCORE
3-D ANIMATED FILM
La Planète encore is a spectacular 3-D animation based on one of the artists comics, screened exclusively at the Fondation Cartier. A collection of the original panels of the comic strip is also on display. Co-directed by Moebius and Geoff rey Niquet and produced by AngeleFine and Moebius Productions, with the support of BUF Compagnie, it is the result of an extraordinary adaptation of the artists drawings.
DRAWINGS, PAINTINGS AND FILMS
Produced in collaboration with Moebius Productions, the exhibition at the Fondation Cartier presents a survey of the artists work, including original notebooks, comic book panels, and paintings, as well as several previously unpublished drawings. A sound installation mixing the artists voice with sound effects inspired by Moebius work guides the visitor through his many worlds. In addition to the animated film La Planète encore, another film entitled MÉTAMOEBIUS, Giraud-Moebius Métamorphoses, offers an unexpected portrait of the artist as an actor in his own screenplay. Reflecting the prolific nature of Moebius creativity, the exhibition itself will transform during the month of January, presenting new drawings and works. With over 400 pieces, MOEBIUS-TRANSE-FORME provides the visitor with the unique opportunity to discover the work of this remarkable artist who has continuously pushed back the limits of form in search of new horizons.