Gilles Aillaud, Intérieur et hippopotame, 1970 / hors Collection / Courtesy of the artist
Gilles Aillaud: Political Animal
Oct 4, 2023 – Feb 24, 2024
Centre Pompidou
Paris, France

When asked about his decision to paint almost nothing but animals, Gilles Aillaud replied “because I like them”. Contemporaneous with early Pop Art works, with their varying degrees of fascination with consumer products and mass communication, the paintings of Gilles Aillaud (who died in 2005) have nothing exotic about them.

Unable to become a philosopher, Gilles Aillaud became a painter instead. However, instead of painting a philosophy, he sought to “paint philosophically”. Although his paintings may seem to depict animals, the artist’s sole and true subject was our relationship with nature. His technical “humility” gave form to a dream of reconciliation, far from any attempt to “master” or “possess” the world. Today, current questions about our relationship with living beings highlight the importance of this keenly awaited retrospective.

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