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Mario PRASSINOS

Roméo et Juliette (Romeo and Juliet)

 

 

Aubusson tapestry woven in the Goubely-Gatien workshop.
With certificate signed by the artist, n°4/4.
1961.

 

« I became interested in the art of tapestry particularly because I was excited by the numbered cartoon technique consisting of the fabrication of a mental coloured image using a code…. Tapestry is an essential exercise. As I practised it, it is perhaps the desire to interrogate, down to the finest detail, a work which exists in two dimensions.” (quoted in the exhibition  catalogue, Prassinos, rétrospective de l’oeuvre peint et dessiné, Puyricard, 1983).

So much for the artist’s manifesto.  Prassinos designed his first cartoons in 1951 (most of which, around 150, would be woven in the Goubely workshop); then he joined the A.P.C.T. (Association des Peintres-Cartonniers de Tapisserie). After several  cartoons taking birds as their theme, Prassinos, like several other artists, despite being close to Lurçat, (Matégot, Wogensky…) turned resolutely towards abstraction, in a very personal style where sinuous shapes entwine in contrasting colours (often following a scheme of black-red-brown-beige).

 

Prassinos designed several theatre sets (particularly for the TNP), and for him the link between tapestry and the theatre was self-evident : “A large scale tapestry is reminiscent of the theatre.. It is solemn and has a story to tell. The fact that some of my large tapestries are named after Shakespearean tragedies is not an accident” (quoted in the exhibition catalogue Mario Prassinos, tapisseries monumentales, Arles 1974).

 

Romeo and Juliet is the first of Prassinos’s forays into Shakespearean themes (a subject to which he would return in the central panel of the “Homage to Shakespeare” triptych in 1966) in which we sense a transitional phase  in the artist’s work, before his work becomes purely abstract : here we can identify two heads.

 

Bibliography :
Exhibition catalogue Mario Prassinos, tapisseries monumentales, Abbaye de Montmajour, Arles, 1974, Cat. n°3 (ill.)
Exhibition catalogue Mario Prassinos, Tapisseries , Aubusson, Musée départemental de la Tapisserie, 1984
Exhibition catalogue Prassinos, Tapisseries, Angers, Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine, 1988