Abdallah Benanteur , born in 1931 and installed in France in 1953, is one of the founders of modern Algerian painting.
BiographyAbdallah Benanteur is born on March 3rd, 1931 with Mostaganem (Algérie). It starts to draw and paint in 1943, attends the workshops of sculpture then of painting of the School of the Art schools of Oran, where it meets Guermaz. In 1953 it comes, with his friend of childhood Mohammed Khadda, to settle in Paris. After a first personal exposure in 1957, it exposes regularly in France but also in Germany and to Denmark. It realizes into 1961 of the drawings for Matinale of my people of the poet Jean Sénac.
From 1962 Benanteur practices the Gravure, illustrates poems of Sénac again and carries out its first books of bibliophilism, melting in 1965 the collection Charef , of the first name of his/her brother missing during the Guerre from Algeria, which in forty years counts a hundred works. Benantor generally chooses the texts of them among the Persan poets whom it read as of his childhood, the contemporary Algerian writers and the poems of his wife, Monique Boucher, also painter. Benantor conceives the typography of his books, carries out itself the composition and the impression, with a limited number of specimens, which it enriches by tests of test of his engravings, drawings and gouaches. Retrospectives of its works were presented to the Musée modern art of the Town of Paris in 1970 and to the Institut of the Arab world in 2003.
Benantor was professor with the 3Ecole Nationale Sup3erieure of the Art schools of Paris then at the School of decorative Arts of 1971 to 1974. He is named member of comitié of the Young contemporary engraving, of the national committee of the French illustrated book, the National library and the Library of the Arsenal. Having worked a long time in a printing works, it is devoted entirely to painting as from 1989, exposing each year its work to the gallery Claude Lemand (forewords of Monique Boucher, Michel-Georges Bernard, Bruno Jaubert, Raoul-Jean Moulin, Bernard Fabre and Youri). Since 1994 it carried out a thousand of books with single specimen.
Work“I very young person was attracted by the drawing. My chance was perhaps a whole continuation of infantile long illness which retained me at the house. At eleven years, I drew much, of the flowers, the natures died with lemons, later of the portraits. I arrived from there at painting. I copied reproductions in black and white of Rembrandt. I liked traditional 19th century, in particular Monticelli of which there were several fabrics with the museum of Oran. Afterwards, I discovered Matisse, Paul Klee, dazzled by this coloured East which they had painted and which I did not know. But also Franz Marc and the German Expressionnisme”, entrusted Benanteur.
When it settles in 1953 in Paris, it that it enters, is quite naturally formed in the abstract vision of the signs which strew the potteries, the carpets and the trunks of its childhood, in the way of nonthe figuration. Between gray and ochers extinguished, blue and green deafened, an often lunar light lights its fabrics then. Benantor loosens there soon the interlacing of his arabesques, the lines of the ancestors (1957) make appear like the fragments of disappeared writings. Through a mean network of veins and cracks, their signs ramify then tangle up. The auroral tonalities transfer with the brown deaf persons of the barks, with ochers of sands and the desert rocks ( On the edges of the the Nile , 1958; Hoggar , 1959).
“The monochromic one carried it in my painting”, will entrust Benanteur, “during five years, it is the ocher which reigned, with its ranges, honey and sand”. From 1960, the broad keys of the color thicken on its fabrics, recover the fine grid which articulated them. Then its painting seems, around 1962, to settle at the edge of obscure grounds that do not light any more but of remote marblings. After this “black period”, it is as since the other side of the shade that the light reappears, in 1970, by degrees, unreal, in the halations mysterious Pots or bottles irradiating it in the middle of the shade. Of their internal clearness the colors, intense re-appear again. Four years later the procession of the Wandering , which appear in the collection of the Institute of the Arab World, announces the long continuation of the Visiteuses . In a space of nowhere walk on of fabric in fabrics of pale undecided presences, about to take form at the edge of their disappearance.
The painting of Benanteur does not cease thereafter being perforated, is impregnated after 1976 of all the tonalities of the paddle and the setting one. In its amber castings among the blue solid masses deep ones, a five meters length polyptyque takes back in 1981 the painter in the most solar ranges. A kind of “ultra-light”, as in fusion, fades of its incandescence the center or the upper part of its fabrics. In the diptychs and polyptyques that it multiplies then Benanteur finds banks of the Mediterranean of which it beyond the memory revives the glares ( Paysage with Médéa , 1984; Pastures of light , 1985; Return to Tipaza , 1986; spring at the village , 1988). Air, clearer or more obscure according to the element in front of which they slip, of tiny silhouettes remain to them, solitary or joined together in groups, which the painter names with the liking of his mood ( the elected officials , 1987; contemplative the , 1988; makers of clouds , the pythonisses , 1989; the poetess , the couples , 1990). All at the same time oneiric visions of the universe of the ancestors, resurgence of the markets and festivals of childhood, dialogs with traditional works of Italian or Flemish painting, this anonymous crowd gives to space a dimension of vastness, a climate of Sérénité (1989).
From 1991 Benanteur engages in a series of broader imaginary “voyages” ( Promenade in Perse , In the East , In India , With the Pakistan , In Algeria , Djurdjura , With the Cachemire ). From fabric in fabric a High-Country extends tightened throats and processions, collars and cliffs, fall, clearings and thickets. The horizons are staged there in massive distances, the color seeming sourdre porosities of the rock, scales of the ground, faults of the mountains. In more buckled lights these nonfigurative landscapes leave place, on the end of the Années 1990, with a more diffuse presence of the elements. Never Benanteur represents there nature in the reality of its spectacles but, by refracting the pure dash of colors and lights, never its painting does not leave it one moment.
Quotation“Each morning, when I open the door of my workshop, I intend art to be said: “Here the hat which comes at home”. I address my recognition to art but I never intended it to thank me. I would like to erase me in Article Etre painter, it is to be the “flunkey” of art, and few people accept it. Ca grains me to be a child of our time because it is artistically worst and most obliging. While being small artistically, one with the possibility of being devoted large médiatiquement. In fact the media create, diffuse and devote the celebrities. Finally, which one knows about the person does not exist, the person of the painter is an obstacle between him and painting. It is by erasing us in it that we will realize it. In the museums, in front of the glorious production of the past, I do not feel only one moment painter. In front of the glorifications of modernity, on the other hand, I feel painter again. Each time I look at works of the past, my faith in art as a sure value and absolute increases. ” (O. Hadjari, Discussion with Benanteur , in “Ruptures”, n° 19, Algiers, May 18th, 1993)
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