Nicolas de Crécy's works — paintings, drawings, illustrations — portray a Europe skewed in fantastical ways, a Europe both of the artist's lived experience and of his dream imaginings. His exhibition falls into two parts and includes a moving homage to the pianist Paul Wittgenstein (1887-1961) entitled" Le Manchot mélomane" [The one-handed melomaniac], seen for the first time here in Brussels. Born in Vienna, the son of an industrialist and brother of the famous philosopher, Paul was a talented concert pianist who had his right arm amputated during the First World War.
The exhibition brings together sculptures, charcoal drawings, oils and installations and focuses on the themes of disappearance and loss, madness, creation and filiation. Snowy Austrian landscapes accompany evocations of fragmented and imaginary bodies, and the blurring of boundaries between inner and outer, through the evocation of sounds, masks and ghostly figures, creates a tangible sense of some mysterious, ineffable reality.
Also on show will be illustrations from Nicolas de Crécy's new album Visa Transit (published by Gallimard), a record of the artist's momentous journey from Paris to southern Turkey, via Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria, in a clapped-out Citroën Visa accompanied by his cousin.
These delightful direct-colour illustrations take us on a veritable old-fashioned road trip, a journey — which occurred in the days before the Fall of the Berlin Wall — littered with unlikely encounters and reconstructed memories, where Henri Michaux figures as an elegant and tutelary presence.