CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is delighted to present French artist Eric Manigaud.
Manigaud is recognised for his impeccable photo-realist drawings made after original, archival photographs. Working in series, he investigates profound, historical themes including injured World War I soldiers; bombed World War II cities; 19th century murder victims; and asylum inmates. His subject matter, therefore, is commonly brutal and uncompromising.
In this exhibition Manigaud has focused entirely on the Paris massacre of 1961, when the French National Police attacked a peaceful demonstration of pro-National Liberation Front (FLN) Algerians, which resulted in the ruthless and intentional murder of numerous unarmed demonstrators (estimated between 200 and 300 despite the French government eventually acknowledging only 40 deaths in 1998). A witness, Makhlouf Aouli, stated recently, “Algerians were drowned, strangled and dropped from planes into the sea.” The repression took place in the context of the Algerian War (1954-62), at a time when the FLN had recently resumed its bombing campaign against the French police in its effort to gain independence for Algeria.
This collection, therefore, is a continuation of Manigaud’s preoccupation with historical atrocity, where he encourages his audience to remember, or acknowledge, and inadvertently pays homage to its victims. Manigaud also affirms the enduring power of imagery and importance of visual documentation. It is most often the testament of photographic evidence – in this case Georges Azenstarck or Georges Ménager – that comes to define our lives and times, and Manigaud’s compelling drawings add profoundly to this visual history.