PARIS.- The Centre Pompidou
will hold the first retrospective dedicated to the work of Nancy Spero in France. Presented from 13 October 2010 to 10 January 2011, it gathers sixty drawings in homage to the American artist who died last year at the age of 83.
The exhibition, which will be shown in both the Gallery of Graphic Art and the Museum Gallery, chronologically displays the work of an engaged artist. Nancy Spero created a woman who is both a protagonist and a driving force of history, along the lines of the feminine model she defended.
In 1966, she definitively abandoned painting on canvas, a medium she considered too masculine, and renewed her practice of graphic art utilizing simple procedures and materials: she photocopied, enlarged and modified her images, which she reworked and redrew with an ink pen and then cut out. The figures thus obtained are often incorporated into long strips of vertical or horizontal paper glued end-to -end like Egyptian papyrus or Chinese scrolls. Imbued with violence, yet not bereft of humor, Nancy Speros art, punctuated with cries of anger and radical stands, takes a decidedly figurative form, on the border between drawing and painting.
Trained at the Art Institute of Chicago, a bastion of figurative painting, the artist studied at the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris from 1949 to 1950. After marrying painter Leon Golub in1951 they would have three children she came back with her family to live in the French capital from 1959 to 1964.
Upon returning to the United States, Nancy Spero took up the cause of ending the war in Vietnam, translating all the horror and revulsion she felt about this conflict in The War Paintings (1966-1970). Identifying with Antonin Artaud, she drew inspiration from his texts in her Artaud Paintings (1969-1970) and more specifically in her Codex Artaud (1971-1972). It was through his influence she would invent her self as a woman artist.
From the 1970s on, Nancy Spero placed woman at the center of her work, representing Man in the broadest sense in an exclusively feminine form. During this period her work took a radically feminist turn. She forged an image of woman who transgresses every limit of period and culture, free, strong and timeless.