London

London

Henri Michaux

Whitechapel Gallery
77 - 82 Whitechapel High Street
February 19–April 25, 1999

Curated by Catherine Lampert and Anthony Spira

A “rape,” an “atrocious voltage” annihilating “the machine of the mind” is how Belgian artist and poet Henri Michaux (1899-1984) described the effects of taking mescaline. The frantic, vibrating drawings he produced under the drug’s influence make for pretty edgy viewing; here they’ll be shown alongside watercolors and extracts from the artist’s writing. Admired by André Gide, influenced by Lautréamont, Klee, Ernst, and De Chirico, Michaux is just the type of fascinating, slightly outsider-ish figure the Whitechapel is so good at restoring to view. Catherine Lampert, the gallery’s director, and in-house curator Anthony Spira organized this show, which includes over l00 works and offers a wealth of remarkable, demanding images and ideas.