Henri Michaux [1899-1984]

Without titel, ca. 1962, aquarel, East-Indian ink on vellum, 75 x 108 cm

Michaux was born in Namur and travelled a lot (Equator, Asia, India, North-America). In 1924 he established himself in Paris and attained the French nationality in 1955. From 1925-27 he began both writing and painting, two different manners to give an expression to his inner world. He admired eastern calligraphy and began experimenting himself with East-Indian ink. Whilst language implicates a structured mind-set, Michaux’s characters, which he paints with his brush, stand apart from every meaning. Between 1956 and 1959 Michaux experimented with hallucinogenic stimulants, especially mescaline, which caused conscious states. In the beginning of the 1960’s Michaux experimented with other artistic materials such as aquarel, gouache and sepia and introduced colour into his work. The works of 1961-1962 are announcements to a series of gouaches (1964-1965) whereas the surface is divided in horizontal rims upon which figure characters dance along a stave like musical notes. The oeuvre of this special artist is characterised by a constant renewal of the graphic language.