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Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Robert Montgomery: London/PaRis Love Letters Exhibition

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Robert Montgomery: London/PaRis Love Letters Exhibition
In Article, News

20 May – 20 June
Monday to Saturday 11am – 7pm  and Sunday 12 – 6pm
Alex Eagle Studio, 6-10 Lexington Street, London W1F 7BE

For the first exhibition in our new space in Soho, Alex Eagle presents a series of collaborative drawings by Paris artist and designer Jean Charles de Castelbajac and London artist Robert Montgomery. The drawings were made by mailing works in progress between Castelbajac’s studio in Paris and Montgomery’s studio in London with the artists drawing on the same page – a mail art conversation crossing the channel back and forth, like love letters.

Castelbajac illustrates Montgomery’s poetry and Montgomery adds calligraphic lines to Castelbajac’s iconic figures. The process came from spontaneous chalk drawings the two friends began in 2011 while they were both showing at Galerie Nuke in Paris – real time collaborative drawings scrawled on the streets of the Marais or the walls of friends houses after dinner.

“With the best people the things you do together are automatic. This often happens in love and sometimes in friendship. I can’t remember how me and Jean-Charles started doing drawings together because it was as automatic as saying hello. The Surrealists said “Automatic Drawing” was a gateway to the unconscious – well, before long, we had unconsciously covered the walls our gallerist Jenny Mannerheim’s apartment, and the walls of other friends and some streets in the Marais. When I left Paris we carried on doing the drawings like letters. It’s a lovely way to communicate, drawing letters, you feel very close to someone when you draw on the same page even if you’re in different cities. Half the time Jean-Charles starts with an image and posts it to me and I add words, half the time I start by drawing words and send them to him to add his symbols. I like to image the drawings sailing across the channel on a little boat in between. In a way I think for me they are love letters to Paris, and for Jean-Charles I think they are love letters to London.”, Robert Montgomery

The works on paper mix media and are the first example of Castelbajac working in watercolour- a medium Montgomery often works with in his more austere text drawings.

The idea of collaborative drawing in modernism was invented in Paris in the early 20th Century by the Surrealists and Castelbajac and Montgomery are their contemporary heirs. The drawings celebrate the enduring magic of both cities, the secret romance that follows the route of the Eurostar, and hallucinate angels above the rooftops of the 10eme and W1.

“When Robert told me about ‘London/PaRis Love Letters’, I immediately wanted to exhibit the show. I love the idea of celebrating the friendship of the two artists, and the clever and fun collaboration based on the dying art and tradition of sending post. The intimate nature of their collaboration appealed to me; the illustrations and poems intertwine so beautifully in these pictures.” Alex Eagle

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