paris une galerie jean peinture pierre contemporain jeune plus années papier laurent strouk grand

Ivan Messac

France 1948

Sculpture, Pop Art, Figuration Narrative

Ivan Messac
Ivan Messac
February 26, 2016
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Being an artist is not an easy job. The visits by the Muses are erratic and fickle, and sometimes, you simply run out of inspiration. When your creative attention is divided between philosophy, literature, and visual arts, that task of being originator gets even harder. However, Ivan Messac is clearly the exception to the rule. This fruitful humanity scholar made some significant contribution in the field of these three disciplines.

Ivan: the Youngest Artist of the Figuration Narrative Group

Messac was born in Caen, Calvados – in the Normandy region of northwestern France. In 1969, Ivan both earned a Master of Philosophy and participated in an exhibition of Salon de la Jeune Peinture, the young artists’ association created in the 50s. It was a decisive year – Ivan was on the horns of a dilemma: to use his newly acquired degree or to paint.

He chose to paint, becoming the youngest artist of the Figuration narrative group, the pendant to Pop Art with its roots in France. This movement was created in the mid-60s and it was distinguished from Pop Art mainly by the political commitment of the artists associated with it. It was a circle of artists, formed around the art critic Gérald Gassiot-Talabots and two artists Bernard and Herve Telemaque Rancillac. The group’s member were, among the others – Peter Klasen, Erro, Jacques Monory, Peter Saul, Jan Voss, Valerio Adami, Eduardo Arroyo, Peter Stampfli, Vladimir Velickovic, Jean-Pierre Leboul’ch, Gérard Fromanger, Christian Babou, and the youngest member, Ivan Messac who was designing a movement’s posters in 1973 and 1974. Nevertheless, the affiliation with the Pop art shouldn’t be disregarded. This artistic movement’s use of bold colors, as well as the presence of photographic images or text in the compositions, belong to the aesthetic akin to Figuration narrative.

Figuration Narrative is distinguished from Pop Art by the political commitment of the artists

paris une galerie jean peinture pierre contemporain jeune plus années papier laurent strouk grand
Ivan Messac – Angela angela, 1969

The Indians of Messac

In 1971, Ivan exhibited three paintings from what will become a series titled Minorité Absolue (Absolute minority) and later known as Indiens (The Indians). For next three years, Messac was developing dozens of works in memory of American Indians. In 1974, he also designed a poster for sale, and the whole profit went to the American Indian Movement, led by Dennis Banks.

The entire Ivan’s work of the 70s demonstrates a strong social commitment. In 1974, he participated in a meetings of the artists in Portugal during the Carnation Revolution, a military which overthrew the regime of the Estado Novo. Also, Messac strongly supported the Solidarity trade union, an organization of workers who have come together to protect their rights. Even today, as the established artist represented by prestigious galleries, supported by the media and recognized by institutions, he collaborates with the Secours Populaire, a non-profit organization, with a task to act against poverty and exclusion in France and in the world, promoting solidarity. It brings together people of all opinions, conditions, and backgrounds.

A notable art critic Jean-Louis Pradel noticed Ivan’s Indians, drawing the attention of the art world to this young erudite and a righteous artist. The writer, art critic and art historian, José Pierre, wrote an article on Messac in his book Pop art: An illustrated dictionary.

paris une galerie jean peinture pierre contemporain jeune plus années papier laurent strouk grand
Ivan Messac – American Citizen 11 and Coca, Indiens series, 1971

Messac at the Mythologies Quotidiennes 2 exhibition

In 1973, Ivan designed the sets and costumes for the Ballet Théâtre Contemporain, a short-lived company established by the French Ministry of Culture in 1968. The aim was to develop a modern choreography by collaborating with modern musicians and artists.

Messac exhibited in 1977, in a group show titled Mythologies Quotidiennes 2 in the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, organized by the Figuration narrative movement. A first exhibition Mythologies Quotidiennes was held in 1964 and marked the symbolic beginning of this movement. All 34 artists participated by putting the contemporary society and its images at the heart of their work. But unlike their American counterparts in Pop art, their work was more social and political.

Its sequel, Mythologies Quotidiennes 2, marked the end of the most fertile period of the movement. Ivan turned to sculpture that was slowly becoming his privileged way of research. The first one dates back to 1983 while Messac was working in Carrara, Italy, notable for its white and blue-grey marble.

Ivan returned to painting in 2000

paris une galerie jean peinture pierre contemporain jeune plus années papier laurent strouk grand
Ivan Messac – L’Aurel est hardi and Pour une monarchie constitutionnelle, 2015

Ivan Messac and Literature

Around the same time, in the early 80s, Ivan also wrote and published a crime novel! He never stopped writing – in 2003, Ivan published another book, a fiction titled Fyodor Klepsévitch, for the Editions of the Villa Tamaris. This artist managed to maintain the bond between literature and art – in 2007, at the Orel Art Gallery in Paris, he inaugurated the exhibition titled The Great Difference and dedicated to Vladimir Mayakovsky, a poet, playwright, artist, and stage and film actor.

By adding a social dimension to his work, this artist and polymath definitely ennobled the art scene in the 70s, and just kept doing it to this day. Ivan’s return to painting in 2000, allowed him once again to express his ripe and worldly-wise artistic vision in a wider range of techniques.

This artist is represented by Galerie Brugier-Rigail from Paris.

Ivan Messac lives and works in Paris, France.

Featured image: Ivan Messac by Gilles Dacquin (photo detail)
Other images copyright © artist

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2015Paroles d'ImagesLe Radar, BayeuxSolo
2015Tout s'éclaireStand Baudoin Lebon, Grand Palais, Art ParisSolo
2015Ivan MessacPepper Gallery, AntibesSolo
2015Au train où vont les chosesGalerie Anne Marie et Roland Pallade, LyonSolo
2015La résistance des ImagesLa patinoire Royale, Bruxelles, BelgiqueGroup
2014Street ImmoEspace Commines, ParisSolo
20142 Temps 2DGalerie Baudoin Lebon, ParisSolo
2014BewareArt to be Gallery, LilleSolo
2014Une relectureVilla Tamaris, La Seyne sur MerGroup
2013From me to youVilla Tamaris, La Seyne sur MerSolo
2013Zoo mioGalerie JCM Billy, La BauleSolo
2013Histoire de Temps (Nuit Blanche)Bibliothèque Forney, ParisSolo
2013Narration(s)Mazel Galerie, Bruxelles, BelgiqueSolo
2013InaugurationAD Galerie, MontpellierGroup
2013One Page MagazinesCabinet du livre d’artiste, Université Rennes 2, RennesGroup
2013Une génération. Les peintres des années 70 dans la collection de la Villa TamarisLa Seyne sur MerGroup
2013Point rougeGalerie Le Garage, OrléansGroup
2012De l’art contemporain à l’art urbainGallery Artfiler, Bruxelles, BelgiqueGroup
2011Group ShowMaison de l’art, SallauminesGroup
2011Hommage à Christian CalligarotGalerie IUFM Confluence(s), LyonGroup
2010Nouvelles acquisitionsFondation Colas, Boulogne BillancourtGroup
2010RemixMazel Galerie, Bruxelles, BelgiqueGroup
2010Picasso foreverGalerie Laurent Strouk, ParisGroup
2010Le Jazz dans les collections de la Villa TamarisLa Seyne sur MerGroup
2010Messac/MorteyrolFort Napoléon, La Seyne sur MerGroup
2010HeartGalerie Laurent Strouk, ParisGroup
2009Œuvres 2004/2009Espace Jacques Villeglé, Saint GratienSolo
2009Le futur a 100 ansCIPM, MarseilleSolo
2009Crazy LegsVilla Tamaris, La Seyne sur MerSolo
2009Peintures et sculptures des années 80Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Luxembourg, Grand Duché de LuxembourgSolo
2009Ivan MessacDomaine de Lescombes, EysinesSolo
2008Pessoa est un autreGalerie Antonio Prates, Lisbonne, PortugalSolo
2008My generationGalerie Laurent Strouk, ParisSolo
2008MessacGalerie Bernard Ceysson, Saint EtienneSolo
2008LunatiquesMoments Artistiques, ParisSolo
2007Histoire d’amourGalerie Confluence(s), LyonSolo
2007Œuvres récentesEspace Louis Lumière, Hénin BeaumontSolo
2007C’est dans la boîteDomaine Galuval, CairanneSolo
2007Œuvres sur papier 1967 to 2006École d’Art Gérard Jacot, BelfortSolo
2007Le grand écart, hommage à V. MaïakovskiGalerie Orel Art, ParisSolo
2007La Figuration NarrativeMusée Hospice Comtesse, LilleGroup
2007L’amour de l’art. Art contemporain et collections privées du Sud ouestMusée des Beaux arts, AgenGroup
2006Regarder et être vuGalerie le Garage, OrléansSolo
2006Adam & EveGalerie Laurent Strouk, ParisSolo
2006Collections d’artistesCentre d’art. Château prieural, Monsempron LibosGroup
2005Impression Prime TimeGalerie Laurent Strouk, ParisSolo
2005La Figuration narrative dans les collections publiques, 1964 to 1977Musée des Beaux arts d’Orléans ; Musée des Beaux arts de DoleGroup
2004KlepsévitchGalerie Hervé Lourdel, ParisSolo
2004Carton pleinEspace Château Neuf, ToursSolo
2004Clic clac 3DGalerie Laurent Strouk, ParisSolo
2004La Peau du Chat, hommage à Carlota CharmetCentre d’art de l’YonneGroup
2003Mes années PopGalerie Métropolis, LyonSolo
2003Comment s’y retrouver ?Centre d’Art Contemporain « Passages », TroyesSolo
2003KlepsévitchBibliothèque de la Villa Tamaris, La Seyne sur MerSolo
2003Créations pour le Ballet Théâtre ContemporainMusée des Beaux arts, NancyGroup
2002Group ShowGalerie Art K Thierry Salvador, Salon Art ParisGroup
2001Les années narrativesVilla Tamaris, La Seyne sur MerSolo
2001Carta pesta, Marmo pestoStudio d’Arte La Subbia, Pietrasanta, ItalieSolo
2001De toutes les couleursGalerie Hervé Lourdel, ParisSolo
2000Maison FrançaiseWashington DC, USSolo
2000Torpedo FactoryAlexandria, Virginie, USSolo
2000Pleine ligneGalerie du Centre, ParisGroup
1999Pièces d’appartementchez C. Aubert, ParisSolo
1999Art Papier, œuvres du FRAC AlsaceAbbaye romane d’AlspachGroup
1999Del porcello e…Studio d’Arte La Subbia, Pietrasanta, ItalieGroup
199930 artistesAssemblée Nationale, ParisGroup
1998Ivan MessacOrangerie des Musées, SensSolo
1998Forme dal biancoCarrare, ItalieGroup
1996Ivan MessacEspace Louis Lumière, Hénin BeaumontSolo
1994Ivan MessacCentre d’Art Le Carré St Vincent, OrléansSolo
1993Ivan MessacGalerie 15, ParisSolo
1993Guyomard invite ses amisGalerie du Centre, ParisGroup
1992Ivan MessacCentre d’Art CREDAC, Ivry sur SeineSolo
1992Ivan MessacGalerie de l’Ancien Collège, ChâtelleraultSolo
1992Ivan MessacGalerie de l’École des Beaux Arts, CherbourgSolo
1992Ivan MessacGalerie Catherine Mayeur, Bruxelles, BelgiqueSolo
1990Ivan MessacMusée des Beaux Arts de Joliette, QuébecSolo
1990PratiquesMaison de la Culture Côte des Neiges, Montréal, QuébecGroup
199025e Anniversaire de la Cité Internationale des ArtsParisGroup
1989Ivan MessacGalerie J.C. Aguas Ek’ymose, BordeauxSolo
1989Ivan MessacMusée Régional de Rimouski, QuébecSolo
1988Ivan MessacGalerie Trajectoire, BiarritzSolo
1988Carte blanche à Olivier KaeppelinCREDAC, Ivry sur SeineGroup
1987Ivan MessacGalerie J. & J. Donguy, ParisSolo
1987Salon de la Jeune SculptureParisGroup
1986Le Génie de la BastilleParis, Atelier porte ouverte avec Paul OsipowGroup
1985Le Génie de la BastilleParis, Atelier porte ouverte avec Francis LimératGroup
19846 peintres, 6 portesdomicile d’Alain Borer, ParisGroup
1983L’uomo, l’ambiante, il colorVittuone, Milan, ItalieGroup
1982L’art et la Maestria AutomobileParis, Salon de l’auto, Stand Alfa RomeoGroup
1981Ivan MessacGalerie L’Ollave, LyonSolo
1981Sélection de la Biennale de ParisLisbonne, Portugal ; Tampere, Finlande ; Nice, FranceGroup
1980Ivan MessacGalerie Montesquieu, AgenSolo
1980Ivan MessacCentre d’art Le Parvis, TarbesSolo
1980XIe Biennale de ParisMusée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de ParisGroup
1979Les uns par les autresMusée des Beaux Arts, LilleGroup
1979L’œuvre dans l’œufGalerie Jacqueline Storme, LilleGroup
1978Les UnsFNAGP, ParisGroup
1978L’estampe aujourd’huiBibliothèque Nationale, ParisGroup
1978LithographiesAtelier Franck Bordas, ParisGroup
1978RéalitésGalerie Convergence, NantesGroup
1977Ivan MessacConservatoire National d’Art Dramatique, ParisSolo
1977Exposition Nazim HikmetBerlin, RFAGroup
1977Mythologies Quotidiennes IIMusée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de ParisGroup
1976Ivan MessacSigma 12, BordeauxSolo
1976Peinture grandeur réelleGalerie du Luxembourg, ParisGroup
1976XXVIIe Salon de la Jeune PeintureParisGroup
1975Ivan MessacGalerie Sirio, RomeSolo
1975Ivan MessacCRACAP, Chalon sur SaôneSolo
1975Ivan MessacMaison de la Culture, AmiensSolo
1975Ivan MessacGalerie Noire, ParisSolo
1975Réalisme EuropéenGalerie Gordillo, Lisbonne, PortugalGroup
1975Regard 74Galerie La Pochade, ParisGroup
197517 artisti francesiGalerie Alzaia, Rome, ItalieGroup
1975Affiches pour le P.C.IGalerie Alzaia, Rome, ItalieGroup
1975XXVIe Salon de la Jeune PeintureParisGroup
1974Ivan MessacGalerie Liliane François, ParisSolo
1974Ivan MessacGalerie Alvarez, Porto, PortugalSolo
1974Ivan MessacMairie de Sallaumines, SallauminesSolo
1974Sélection de Jean Louis PradelFIAC, ParisGroup
1974XXVe Salon de la Jeune PeintureParisGroup
1974Du réalisme à l’hyperréalismeGalerie 16, VenceGroup
1974Que bien résistent !Lecco, ItalieGroup
1974Polemica, Satira, ProtestaGalerie Trifalco, Rome, ItalieGroup
1974L’homme et la machineGalerie Passerelle Saint Louis, ParisGroup
1974Grafica 74Anagni, ItalieGroup
1973Le noble artGalerie Ratié, ParisSolo
1973Grands et Jeunes d’aujourd’huiGrand Palais, ParisGroup
1973La Parole est à la PeintureGalerie La Roue, ParisGroup
1973Manipulation du RéelPujolsGroup
1973IIe Foire de l’estampeVilleparisisGroup
1973Group ShowGalerie 9, ParisGroup
1972IIIe biennale de l’estampeParisGroup
1972XXIIIe Salon de la Jeune PeintureParisGroup
1971Ivan MessacBrown Thomas Gallery, DublinSolo
1971IntoxMaison de la Culture, GrenobleGroup
1971Irish Exhibition of Living ArtDublin, IrlandeGroup
1970Aspect du racismeParisGroup
1970100 artistes dans la villeMontpellierGroup
1970Irish Exhibition of Living ArtDublin and BelfastGroup
1970XXIe Salon de la Jeune PeintureParisGroup
1969XXe Salon de la Jeune PeintureParisGroup
1969Ve SigmaBordeauxGroup
1968Salon de NanterreNanterreGroup
1967Salon de NanterreNanterreGroup