Michel Batlle


“Painting is not navel-gazing, but conveys the memory of peoples, their resistance, their personality. »

Go and find out how this formidable disorder is born. It's like an initial bubbling. A container filled with possibilities, times broken down and recomposed, faces, thousands, going in all directions. Michel Batlle is like this, he throws nothing away. Around him, an entire humanity rises, lies down, cuts out, flayed, dead or alive, in color, in white charcoal, digitized. Thousands of humans it has brought together since the 1970s, with no other concern than to present the countless avatars, initial or replacement figures. The man is an unstoppable account, and this figure in perpetual mutation interests Michel Batlle.

"Batlle with two wings," he smiled. Because it's about freedom. Since the beginning of history, he has maintained a pictorial and elementary right to it. “I am the son of an anarchist and a nun, refugees from the war in Spain,” he smiles. That should be enough. Freedom not to believe too much in the subterfuges of the moment, favorable modernities, the refuge of tradition, the dominant aesthetic. Like the "Arteurs", which he joined in the 80s, a free movement, non-regulatory, follower of movement and ephemeral construction.

His friendship with Ben Vautier bears witness to this longevity of meaning. “He is one of the few to understand that painting is not a navel-gazing search, but a vehicle for the memory of peoples, their resistance, their personality. So painting, but also body painting, radiographic printing, sensory exploration, monumental sculpture, and even publishing, words, lights, which move the horizon lines and the temporary representation of the world.

"It's a freedom you can't imagine," summarizes Kossi Homawoo, who found it, in part, in Michel Batlle's interest in Africa and its spiritual environment. In addition, both exploit what contemporary mediums offer in terms of possibilities. The first impressions on Plexiglas were thus born. Sumptuous, noisy, abusive, limitless faces, bodies in the making, because they are given liberty “with two Ls”.

“He imposes no discourse, no interpretation. It's still great, someone who can tell you: "Do what you want with it, it's up to you. Literally and figuratively, a work that comes back to you, with which you will get along. The spirit of the "artists" is summed up in this single sentence. A common artistic experience, between the producer and the viewer.

Roger Calmé (ZO mag’)