Journey into Matisse's work

The Matisse departmental museum of Cateau-Cambrésis regularly invites contemporary artists to bring its collections to life and to establish crossed perspectives that resonate with the works of Matisse, Herbin, MirÓ, Chagall, Giacometti ...

This year, the museum offers a carte blanche, on the idea and the importance of the journey in the work of Matisse, to Alain Godon. Travel can take different forms. It is of course physical like the one undertaken by Matisse in 1930, from New York to Tahiti, but can also be understood as a journey through practices and a stroll in his dreams, in “new cosmic spaces”. The trip to Tahiti, which serves as a support for this exhibition, played an essential role for Matisse, notably leading to the creation of the paper cutouts a few years later.

Who is Alain Godon?

Alain Godon discovered drawing with his architect uncle in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, before seizing his chance on the Parisian sidewalks by becoming a graphic designer, follower of Street Art. Continuing his pictorial journey in England before returning to France at the end of the 1980s, he developed a certain taste for urban architecture.

Like a great dreamer who has kept his child's eyes, Alain Godon gives us works that are apparently simple but whose construction is much more complex, revealing for those who want to immerse themselves in them a particular universe sheltering small everyday stories, revealing a singular imagination that shares with Matisse the desire to bring joy and happiness. From the discovery of an initiatory journey, made 87 years earlier by the owner, Henri Matisse, Godon also takes us into his “architecture of dreams”.

There are therefore more than 150 works at the Matisse Museum: 8 paintings, 49 drawings, 10 sculptures, 96 bildoreliefs, 5 original installations.

Henri Matisse was attentive to the productions of the artists who surrounded him. Already during his lifetime, he inspired many of them, especially young people. Also, it is logical that the museum which he himself founded in his hometown in 1952, regularly devotes temporary exhibitions to contemporary artists marked by his work.

Today, the opportunity is given to Alain Godon to wonder about a particularly important element in Matisse's career: the theme of travel.

For Matisse, travel is essential to the training of young artists. “[...] On the other hand, instead of all the demands of the Prix de Rome and the support that the State provides them in the Salons, could we not give travel grants to artists who combine obvious gifts to a solid character, to go freely to study abroad, in our colonies and even in France, wherever they will feel the possibility of developing and enriching themselves, ”he says. This is an "amplified" way of following the teaching of his teacher Gustave Moreau who instilled that one should not be satisfied with going to the museum, that one had to go to the street.

The Matisse departmental museum of Cateau-Cambrésis regularly invites contemporary artists to bring its collections to life and to establish crossed perspectives that resonate with the works of Matisse, Herbin, MirÓ, Chagall, Giacometti ...

This year, the museum offers a carte blanche, on the idea and the importance of the journey in the work of Matisse, to Alain Godon. Travel can take different forms. It is of course physical like the one undertaken by Matisse in 1930, from New York to Tahiti, but can also be understood as a journey through practices and a stroll in his dreams, in “new cosmic spaces”. The trip to Tahiti, which serves as a support for this exhibition, played an essential role for Matisse, notably leading to the creation of the paper cutouts a few years later.

Matisse reaffirms the importance of constant in-situ observation which allows us to grasp the secrets of the embryonic life of tremors, which allows us to acquire little by little this fluid that real artists manage to possess.

But, in addition to these experiences, these training acquired, according to Matisse, travel brings other advantages: they allow a necessary break to take a step back from his work and open up to other universes, other spaces, other states of consciousness. He explains to Tériade:
“When you have worked for a long time in the same environment, it is useful to stop at a given moment the usual course of the brain by a journey which rests certain parts of it and lets others flow in, these compressed by the will. And then this stop allows a hindsight, consequently an examination of the time spent. We resume our journey with more certainty when the preoccupation with the anterior part of the journey, not having been destroyed by the quantity of impressions received from the new world in which we have plunged, regains possession of the brain ”.

In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

Matisse Museum - Le Câteau-Cambrésis - MATISSE-GODON NEW-TORK - TAHITI. THE ARCHITECTURE OF A DREAM

FROM October 14, 2017 to March 4, 2018

Palais Fénélon, Place du Commandant-Richez, 59360 Le Cateau-Cambrésis
Phone: 03 59 73 38 06