“Art, before being a commodity, is an adventure of the spirit.”
Humble, attentive, erudite and generous, fascinating as much as fascinating, and above all, always smiling and full of humanity, Bernard Quentin was a man who had seen everything, the worst as well as the best, of what the human race is capable of producing. During the war, he had witnessed misery and horror as well as solidarity and brotherhood. In the 1950s, he had built himself, like post-war Europe, in the effervescence and desire to build a better world by actively participating in making the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district an essential part of the intellectual and cultural life of Paris. A few years later, he left to pursue this quest in the four corners of the planet by studying the thousand languages, cultures and religions, capable of creating eternal links or separating men. From then on, he will have only one objective, to become in his own way a witness as well as a guide to the union and cohesion that can be born from art. It is in this perspective that he will invent a universal language of more than 3000 signs, the “Quentin BabelWeb“.
Through the letters as much as the beings he will never stop questioning, he will forge a unique artistic path, mixing historical research and modern experimentation to better probe the Great History of Men; those of the past as well as those of the future. His tireless quest for reflection on the scope of art and language led him to explore in depth writing, signs and calligraphy, themes that were to recur in his work until the end of his life and which made him a true pioneer of semiotic art. As for his experiments on new supports and materials, in particular PVC from which he created the first furniture without frames, but also his architectural projects and integration of monumental art in landscapes, they also position him as a precursor of contemporary design, Land Art, and “cybernetic art and electronic writing” (Salvador Dalí)
To pay tribute to this formidable artist and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth, the LOFT Gallery presents today in its two spaces at 3bis and 4 rue des Beaux-Arts, a retrospective exhibition dedicated to his incredible career. At the same time, the gallery is working with his son Alexis Quentin and his wife Florence Quentin on an important monograph that will trace the artistic evolution of this artist who crossed this century by inventing and reinventing the language and daily life of the man of his time. For the art critic Pierre Brisset, he was “a dreamer who knew how to make people dream (…) an orchestrator who (knew) how to make people dream”. ) a man orchestra which (knew) as well to play of the painting, the sculpture, the architecture, the engraving, the archaeology of the future, the stained glass, the mosaic, the tapestry, the goldsmithery, the hieroglyphs, epic signs which can compete with those of Georges Mathieu and others with the graphics of Michaux (and conceived well before), electronic writings “Bip-bip” or graffiti which make appear 40 years later our young loubards-graffitistes like petty daubers. A genius jack-of-all-trades (who tried) to make a synthesis of all the artistic disciplines as well as of all the advanced technologies to reach all the public by different approaches, and where each one will be able, at some level that it is, to draw its truth. (Revue l’œil, August 1989)
Bernard Quentin • Guided tour Ep1. Letters
Painting, Sculpture & Design