Dans l'œil de Daniel Pommereulle

An introduction to the work of Daniel Pommereulle through a conversation with that of other artists: such is the project of this new exhibition at the Galerie Christophe Gaillard, designed as an invitation to place oneself “inside the eye of Daniel Pommereulle” to penetrate the secret of his work, to attempt to see through his eyes and, perhaps, approach what he called his “mind’s self”.  

From the early years of his art, Daniel Pommereulle sought to multiply his faculties of awareness and perception. Very early on, he understood how the practice of art enabled him to understand himself and the extent to which art is a means of emancipating the mind. “I’d like to have 666 additional eyes,” he wrote at the age of twenty-five. Sixty years later, the idea of this collective exhibition is to respond freely to that statement. The list of exhibited artists is to be taken as a fragment of a research in progress, necessarily incomplete; their links, whether real, historical or simply intuitive, are the result of a personal reflection.

By following the singular path of Daniel Pommereulle’s work, all of the artists brought together in the gallery space depict a new constellation. From the Moroccan landscape painted in watercolour by Eugène Delacroix to Max Ernst’s drawing of a comet, to Jean-Pierre Raynaud’s sharp object, to David Douard’s highly contemporary sculptures, Man Ray’s rayographs, and Marie-Luce Nadal’s aerial performances, we’d like these works to illuminate reciprocal reflections like a virtual trail of bright light over precious stones (1)  and thus reveal all the rich diversity and relevancy of Daniel Pommereulle’s body of work, a major corpus within French art history from the second half of the twentieth century and still unjustly little-known.


(1) Stéphane Mallarmé, Divagations, “Crise de vers”, 1897




The vital and artistic experience of Daniel Pommereulle (1937-2003), French painter, sculptor, filmmaker, performer and poet, is unique. Associated with the «Objecteurs» by Alain Jouffroy in 1965, linked to the major actors of the European artistic and intellectual scene of his time, Daniel Pommereulle traced his own path. Multiplying forms, he invented an aesthetics of violence and cruelty, marked as much by his traumatic experience of the Algerian War as by the influence of Surrealism and the thought of Antonin Artaud. Known for his role as a dandy in Eric Rohmer’s film La Collectionneuse (1967), he presented his first object encircled by blades, which would give the famous series of Objets de prémonition (1974-1975). From the 1980s onwards, Daniel Pommereulle forged a new sculpture, «Praise and Martyrdom of Glass» (Philippe Dagen), using all the powers of the material to combine sharpness with softness, calm with vertigo. Two major exhibitions during his lifetime («Fin de siècle» at the C.N.A.C. Georges-Pompidou in 1975 and a retrospective at the Dole and Belfort museums in 1991) contribute to the growing aura of his work, one of the most important of the second half of the 20th century in France, which still remains secret and too little known. An artist of the limit, resolutely avant-garde, Daniel Pommereulle has also directed two films (One more time in 1968 and Vite in 1969).

Armance Léger is a doctoral researcher at the Ecole normale supérieure in the history and theory of modern and contemporary arts and she is currently preparing a monographic thesis on the work of Daniel Pommereulle. She works on the development of the catalogue raisonné of the painted, drawn, and sculptural work of Daniel Pommereulle with the support of the artist’s daughter. She has collaborated with the Galerie Christophe Gaillard since 2016 as head of research, documentation and of the estates of Daniel Pommereulle and Michel Journiac.

Christophe Gaillard, Armance Léger and the wall team of the gallery warmly thank for their collaboration, the galleries: Galerie 1900-2000, Galerie Chantal Crousel, Galerie De Bayser, Galerie ETC, Galerie Laurentin, Galerie Lelong & Co, Galerie Loeve & Co, Galerie Malingue, Galerie Eva Meyer, Galerie Papillon, Galerie Perrotin, Galerie Rabouan Moussion, Ubu Gallery, Galerie Bob Vallois, Galerie Xippas; Thessa Herold Collection, Giacometti Foundation, Jean-Jacques Lebel Endowment Fund.  We particularly thank the artists and all the private collectors who kindly gave up their works for the exhibition’s duration.