New York

Henri Michaux

The Drawing Center / Michael Werner / Zabriskie Galery

Looking at Henri Michaux’s drawings, I can’t help but think of D.W. Winnicott’s squiggle games. The pediatrician-psychoanalyst would draw a line on a piece of paper, his young patient would draw one in response, and so on, until some image or other appeared. The point was to break the ice of the child’s unconscious, to let the slush pour forth in vivid associations and waking dreams. So it is with Michaux: One mark leads to another in drawings that are best understood as reflexive attempts to find a self that is not always there, that sometimes surfaces as if distorted in a dark mirror.

Michaux’s drawings, a selection of which were recently on view, are the barest, most unstable concatenations of lines, marks, and doodles, here in color, there pitch black; they are atavistic, inchoate saibblings, at times nearly legible, yet always on the verge of indecipherabdity. But the Rorschach-like

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 2001 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.