vrijdag 24 juni 2016

Paradise Regained Brillant Pastiche of the Guide Rose Michelin Huit jours à Trébaumec Georges Hugnet Artists' Book

Ubu Gallery presents all summer long an in-depth exhibition exploring the richness of Georges Hugnet’s Surrealist masterpiece, Huit jours à Trébaumec. Published in 1969 by Henri Mercher, the renowned bookbinder, the book appears as a Guide Rose Micheline, a clever parody of the popular Baedeker, Guide Michelin Rouge. In Hugnet’s satire, it is not a Michelin man, but a Michelin woman serving as tour guide and leading us through the fictional “Trébaumec” or as Hugnet called it, “the little lost town in Brittany, paradise regained.” In 1947, Hugnet (1906–1974) traveled along the coast of Brittany photographing his excursions and popular tourist attractions. He was so inspired by his wanderings that he combined earlier collages with newly made ones and sequenced the 82 chosen collages into a Surrealist drama with accompanying handwritten text. The collages depict humorous, racy and grotesque situations in and around Trébaumec, a word play on “good looking guy.” A gap of 22 years followed before the publication was finally realized. The exhibition, which opens on May 19th and runs through September 30th, will feature various examples of the book, including an early maquette, one of the five deluxe copies containing 82 original photographs of the collages, and one of the 10 “semi-deluxe” copies specially bound by Mercher. Eighty-two vintage photographs of the collages acquired from the estate of Hugnet will be available for sale individually and will present the entire sequence of images from the book. Also on display will be 12 of the original collages, as well as ephemera surrounding the book.

Huit jours à Trébaumec
Year: 1969
Author: Georges Hugnet 1906 to 1974 Artist: Georges Hugnet 1906 to 1974
Publisher: Mercher
As a young boy, Georges Hugnet loved to cut newspapers into pieces and to rearrange the headlines, texts and pictures into his own 'journal'. He would make imaginative and comical collages, which he would later continue to do in his plays, poetry and (cinemato)graphical work. Hugnet found the four-sided border of a painting overly restrictive. Through the combination of various disciplines, his work features an incredible amount of diversity. It is this very richness of the imagination that he has always defended as a Dadaist and surrealist.

But Hugnet had the gift of letting his creativity flow within the mostly much smaller space of his photographs. In Huit jours à Trébaumec, which is supposedly a vacation diary by Hugnet for which he took 82 pictures, that creativity comes to full fruition: Hugnet made these photo collages at a later age, and was a talented 'peintre de collages'. The original photographs were taken during a trip Hugnet made along the coast of Brittany in 1947.
Because of Hugnet's collages, Huit jours à Trébaumec became an unusual vacation diary. It is a grotesque, humorous, racily illustrated imaginary travel story that takes place on the coast of Brittany. Two girls in underwear storm the castle steps, two others tumble down them naked, and a squirrel can be seen sitting on the buttock of a lady bending over. Hugnet's poetry has been characterised as sexual-symbolist, and can therefore be interpreted in many different ways. That could also apply to Huit jours à Trébaumec: the story and photo collages can be described as suggestive at the very least. The poses struck by the women, who are either partially or entirely naked, can therefore easily be imagined.

Guide Rose Micheline
The surprise one registers when reading the unusual text and seeing the strange collages of Huit jours à Trébaumec fits comfortably into the tradition of Dada and surrealism. Without even opening the book, this surprise is already caused by the edition's unusual size (40 centimetres tall and 19 centimetres wide). The book, which was published by Mercher, appeared as Guide Rose Micheline, a parody of the popular travel guide Guide Michelin Rouge. In this parody, it is not a little Michelin man, but a Michelin woman acting as a tour guide in the book.
Every set of facing pages features two photo collages on the right, accompanied by two captions on the left. Hugnet's handwriting has been reproduced here in phototype. The everyday holiday snapshots of tourist attractions have been embellished by Hugnet with magazine clippings, mainly of mannequins, women and models, but also of enormous mushrooms.

Trébaumec, paradise regained
Whoever goes looking for the town of Trébaumec will not be able to find it on any map. Trébaumec, which probably alludes to the popular French expression for 'very handsome boy' (très beau mec) is an imaginary creation of Hugnet's. He calls it 'the little lost town in Brittany, paradise regained'.

Bibliographical description
Description:     Huit jours à Trébaumec : journal de vacances orné de 82 photographies prises par l'auteur en 1947 / Georges Hugnet ; – Paris: Mercher, 1969. - 41 pl. (100 p.). : ill. ; 40×19 cm
Printer: Dominique Viglino (Bourg-la-Reine) (text)
Ateliers Coët (Paris) (heliogravure)
Edition: 107 copies
This copy: Number 53 of 100 on Rives BFK
Typeface: De Roos
Note: Preceded by a manually set text by the editor set in De Roos type.
Note: Signed by the author and the editor.
Bibliography: Bénézit 7-249
Shelf-mark: Koopm K 326
Adam Biro, 'Georges Hugnet', in: Dictionnaire général du surréalisme et ses environs. Fribourg, Office du Livre, 1982, p. 210
Jean-Paul Clébert, 'Georges Hugnet', in: Dictionnaire du Surréalisme. Paris, Seuil, 1996, p. 310-311
Georges Hugnet, Pleins et déliés: Souvenirs et témoignages, 1926-1972. La Chapelle-sur-Loire, Authier, 1972
James Phillips, Georges Hugnet (1906-1974): ''Le pantalon de la fauvett'': Du dictionnaire abrégé du Surréalisme: Étude et choix de textes. Paris, Lettres Modernes, 1991

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