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Ladislas KIJNO (1921 2012)


Ladislas KIJNO - Sans titre 1955
Ladislas KIJNO - Palme 1963

Document sans nom

Lydia Harambourg, Art historian and critic
Wrote in L'école de Paris 1945-1965. Dictionnaire des Peintres [The Paris School 1945-1965. Dictionary of Painters], published by Ides et Calendes, 1993
Of Polish origin on his father's side, from Picardy in France on his mother's, his family moved to Nœux-les-Mines in 1925. Ladislas Kijno grew up in a musical environment - his father, who won first prize for violin at the Warsaw Conservatory, taught violin in the evenings after working in the mines - and in a rural environment, influenced by the Rousseauism of his maternal grandfather, a blacksmith, poet and philosopher. From an early age, he developed a passion for drawing, depicting everything around him. He continued his brilliant classical studies in Arras (1936). He began a series of allegories in charcoal, in which the theme of the loop appears, a theme that would recur throughout his work. He discovered in a magazine Picasso and Pignon's drawings of miners. Between 1938 and 1942 he studied philosophy and had a mystical crisis. Serious health problems forced him to spend regular periods in a sanatorium at Plateau d'Assy.
He held his first exhibition there on the theme of Chess. For several years, he helped integrate modern art in a church in Assy, which was being decorated by Rouault, Matisse, Bonnard, Lurçat, Bazaine, Braque, G. Richier, Léger, Lipchitz and Chagall under the direction of Canon Devémy and Father Couturier. In 1949, Kijno was commissioned to paint a Last Supper for the crypt, resulting in violent reactions. He corresponded with Claudel and campaigned with Lanza del Vasto. In 1947, he had a decisive meeting with Germaine Richier in her studio on avenue de Châtillon, through Claude Mary, her closest pupil. Germaine Richier had a strong influence on the novice, who also met her husband René de Solier. He decided to devote himself to painting. Due to practical circumstances, he could only produce drawings and gouaches: themes of violins and cellos, studies of musicians and an interest in brass instruments due to their complex shapes.

He was very attracted to spheroid and ovoid forms - influenced by the egg, the symbol of absolute form - resulting in increasingly abstract curved rhythms, because for Kijno "the universe is a curved expansion; energy and matter are symbolically like a ball" (interview with the painter). He started looking at crumpled paper ("A child is born crumpled and with age man dies crumpled, it's a biological observation, but he defended himself as a theorist") - what dominates are instinct and rigour (Id. interview) and the sculptural-pictorial serial space.
He compared his work at Assy to a "floating island in my life (1949-1950). Assy destroyed the figural phenomenon for me" (interview with Solier). He wanted to find artistic equivalences, rhythmic relationships. Hence the increasingly important curves mentioned above.

Source: catalogue of the Kijno retrospective at the State Russian Museum in Saint-Petersburg, 2006, Palace Edition


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