Dessous d'affiches (Reverse Sides of Posters)

François Dufrêne

Paris, France, 1930 - 1982
  • Date: 
  • Descriptive technique: 
    Fragments of torn posters on canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    168 x 130 x 3 cm
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François Dufrêne began his career as a poet when closely involved with Lettrism, and his work on the deconstruction of language runs through his entire output. In 1960 he signed the Déclaration constitutive du Nouveau Réalisme which brought the Nouveaux Réalistes group together under the statement “The New Realists have become conscious of their collective identity; New realism = new perceptions of the real.” From that time on, Dufrêne mainly worked with posters, usually working on the reverse sides of them, which he referred to as Dessous d’affiches (Reverse Sides of Posters). The décollage (‘unsticking’) method adopted by the affichistes, who included Dufrêne himself alongside Jacques Villeglé and Raymond Hains, corresponds to new realism’s identifying concept: the new perception of urban reality through social analysis and the direct appropriation of the real, encapsulated in a new approach to the object. With this intervention, Dufrêne presents the dessous d’affiches as a kind of collective artistic demonstration, carried out by all the people who intervene in advertising or publicity posters as an anonymous act of rebellion against the growth of the consumer society. The work of tearing posters down thus brings intervention on a pre-existent object (such as the poster) together with elements of painting of the time, such as seeing the wall as a communicative element, and the vindication of the destructive childish gesture.