kiki & loulou picasso
Kiki and Loulou Picasso were in the mid-70's the founding members of the Bazooka collective together with Lulu Larsen, Olivia Clavel, Bernard Vidal, T5dur and Jean Rouzaud . They soon imposed uncompromising, cold and provoking work, - signed collectively or with numerous pseudonyms - standing as a veritable graphic counterpoint to the punk movement. The confessed aim was to get out of the classical galleries network, at first through self-publications (Loukhoum Breton, Activité Sexuelle Normale, Le Bulletin Périodique), then reaching a wider audience working on records covers, tv titles, daily press and magazines. Hired by Libération in 1977, they literally exploded the newspaper's template, displacing chronicles, replacing photographic works with drawings or adding texts and captions very often in opposition with the content of the articles they were supposed to illustrate.
The editorial staff being divided about these graphic interventions, the verbal and physical assaults between the historical newspaper's team and the members of the Bazooka collective increased until their pure and simple dismissal. Their return was made possible thanks to Serge July's help, the latter offering them to develop an independent project from the newspaper, the henceforth mythical “Un Regard Moderne” (5 plus a #0 issues, all published in 1978). The group exploded at the end of the 70s, as a victim of their excess and their frenetic work rhythm, leaving behind an impressive set of drawings, collages, photomontages, paintings and publications whose influence would be fundamental to the graphic creation to come.
Largely considered as the starting point for the French undergraphism, from Elles Sont de Sortie to Frédéric Magazine via Le Dernier Cri, the Bazooka saga also spread around the contemporary art field : The “figuration libre” painters freely got their inspiration from that energy to produce their first publications (BATO, DiRosa Magazine...) and the aesthetics developed today into the drawings of some top-hand young French artists doubtlessly take their source there. In the early 80s, Kiki, Loulou Picasso and Olivia Clavel published a few particularly outstanding solo works (“Les Chefs d'Oeuvres de Kiki Picasso” and “Matcho Girl” at Le Dernier Terrain Vague, “Agréable” for Futuropolis). Later Loulou devoted himself to painting, Agnès b. gallery representing him, while Kiki explored multiple possibilities drawn from a graphics tablet, founding Art Force Industrie, a video creation studio of which most productions invaded TV Channels.
In 2002, Kiki and Loulou gathered back to animate unregardmoderne.com, a website in which each collaborator (Olivia Clavel, Anne Van Der Linden, Placid, Chris Marker...) brought a graphic answer to current events in the heat of the moment. That project remained active up to 2005, when it had to close under the pressure of large press agencies which took a dim view of the way their press releases were used. The same year, “Un Regard Moderne” was released at Seuil Publishings as a catalogue of the eponymous retrospective displayed at the Sainte-Croix Abbey's Museum (Sables d'Olonne, West of France), a first step towards institutional recognition.
In June 2009, L'Association published "Engin Explosif Improvisé", a new book focusing of the first paintings Kiki and Loulou Picasso did together in nearly 30 years. The release of this book was supported by a touring exhibition produced by Arts Factory.
photo credits : arts factory