new-york

Karel Appel

André Emmerich Gallery

The key to Karel Appel’s work is his amazing volume, Psychopathological Art, presented for the first time in the “Parallel Visions” exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum. Executed in 1950, during the heyday of Cobra—of which Appel was a founding member and leader—it is a virtual encyclopedia of “instinctive” images. They bespeak Appel’s sense of the madness underlying art as well as life, a madness that is at once a source of vitality and of despair. Ever since then, Appel has produced an art autre, to allude to the title of Michel Tapié’s two famous 1952 Paris shows, subtitled “signifiers of the informal,” in which Appel played a conspicuous part. Constituted by informal gestures, Appel’s figures seem to have a primordial life of their own.

Appel’s paintings now appear more uninhibited and intense than ever, but something new—or not so new, if one has been keeping up with his work

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