Mon manège à moi

Although art history books regularly show just one of the works, Magritte intended his "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" to be part of a series and had numerous conceptions and compositions for similar drawings. Indeed, that was the very idea, the trick of the series, implicit in any of these paintings when taken individually.

One of the latest works by the painter Pierre Marquès, the series of Kalashnikovs shown here, has several points in common with such machinations: AK-47s stenciled onto magazine pages that let part of the image show through underneath (thus becoming the skin of the most popular assault rifle of the last century) along with part of the text (which in turn is transformed into a counterpoint to complete the trompe-l'œil effect).

Pierre Marquès is one of those contemporary artists who don't buy into the idea that "painting is dead" and he has continued to toil away in the trenches, observing with (I imagine) humour how in recent years "experiments” and (boring) art installations have, in many cases, taken "silliness” to a new extreme.

Despite Marquès' strong belief in pictorial art, this serialisation of painted objects and their successive loss of narrative weight see the paintings gradually transformed into poetry, as they take on the ever more important modality that completes the pairing of the Kalashnikov and the found text: loaded with irony and strengthening the idea that "ceci n'est pas une Kalashnikov". And yet it is. Joan Brossa did something similar with his poems and poèmes-objets. Thus, each of these paintings has formed an artistic complex, if we consider that at the same time they don't stop being what they were before becoming the canvas on which the transformation was made: an ad, a piece of wrapping paper (Louis Vuitton, Chanel), a page from a newspaper (La Vanguardia, in the case of the series "avanguarde art"), a magazine (about gardening or pornography). And most importantly, Marquès has managed something that many of us long to do: he has become an arms-dealer in broad daylight.

Robert Juan-Cantavella