Roland Topor
Oh la la

Le Consortium
Curated by Eric Troncy
Roland Topor, "Oh la la", 1973. Courtesy Anne Barrault gallery.

Roland Topor, (Paris 1938 - Paris 1997)

Acknowledgements: Anne Barrault gallery, Paris


Twenty-five years after Roland Topor’s death (1938-1997), the exhibition Oh la la at the Consortium Museum is an invitation to have a look again at a selection of his pictorial work. It brings together some thirty works (paintings and drawings) that Topor produced between 1965 and 1996. The exhibition takes its title from a 1973 color pencil drawing on paper that perfectly sums up the astonishment elicited by the artistic activity of this singularly great jack-of-all-trades who worked in any medium and genre (painting, sculpture, cinema, television, literature, music, etc.)—starting at the end of the 1950s with press illustration and cartoons—and built an oeuvre that offered comments on the society of his era by leaning on surrealist groundings, combined with a strong inclination for dark humor. Now, it is on display in all its extravagant fantasy and non-conformism.

"It is not bad, for an artist, that a certain disposition to please goes along with a certain propensity to displease" explained Roland Topor in 1986 to newspaper Libération. Certainly, this capacity, this function perhaps of art to displease and to please at once still shines through as in the early days, in this selection of paintings and drawings where sex, death and power seem to form the three load-bearing pillars of society.

— Éric Troncy