22 August 2015

Gilbert Poillerat's Imaginary Bird

























According to Jacques Prevert in the poem To Paint the Portrait of a Bird  if you paint a bird and the painting doesn't sing, "it's a bad sign."    In Gilbert Poillerat's  Portrait of a Bird that Doesn't Exist  I think I see bird song made visible, a sunny version of the shadows on the wall of Plato's cave.      Remember that Plato believed sensations are the vehicle that allows us to experience what is universal; ideal forms he called them.   A fanciful picture of a child at the beach on a summer day anchored, so to speak, by ontology.
So who was Gilbert Poillerat, an artist who never seems to get more than two paragraphs to himself in any written forum?    Poillerat was a maitre- ferronnier, a specialist in metalwork who studied for eight years, from 1919 to 1927 with the Art Deco master, Edgar Brandt.  According to journalist Mariana Paul-Bousquet, it was his graceful iron balustrades that made Poillerat's name and fortune.  In 1943, she wrote: "They are like a winged language,  crossing from the present to sweet visions from childhood."  (translation JAL)   There are those wings again!

Image: Gilbert Poillerat (1902-1988)  - Portrait-de-l'oiseau-qui-n'existe-par, 1979, Pompidou Center, Paris.

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