Art of Another Kind: Selections of Art Informel
Art Informel is a radical approach to abstraction that emerged in Europe in the years following World War II. In response to the horrors of the war, many artists rejected what they believed was realism’s susceptibility to nationalistic narratives, and sought to develop a universal visual language that communicated freedom, individual expression, and inner states of being. Championing this new artistic tendency, in 1952 the French curator and art critic Michel Tapié organized the groundbreaking exhibition Un Art Autre—or Art of Another Kind—and published an accompanying catalogue, in which he coined the term “Art Informel.” Based on the French word informe, meaning “unformed” or “formless,” Art Informel renounced traditional rules of representation and instead emphasized bold, gestural marks that conveyed vitality, emotion, and spontaneity. Drawn from the Bechtler Museum’s permanent collection, the works on view are by a number of artists who were included in Tapié’s 1952 exhibition—such as Karel Appel, Jean Dubuffet, Sam Francis, Jean-Paul Riopelle, and Wols—as well as other key figures affiliated with Art Informel—among them Hans Hartung, Maria Scotoni, Pierre Soulages, and Walasse Ting—each of whom took different approaches to a style that simultaneously reflected a fractured world and that illustrated utopian aspirations for the future.