Evelyne Axell


    • Female

    About the artist

    1935: Born in Namur, Belgium
    1972: Died in a car crash

    Evelyne Axell and the sixties

    Her creative period coincided with the sixties, a period now seen as one of the most innovative in the second half of the 20th century.

    The work of Axell, although highly singular, bears the strong imprint of this period, and its liberation of lifestyles, bodies, mindsets and taboos of all kinds.

    The strictly pictorial works of Axell were produced over the seven years from 1965 to 1972. The seven previous years, from 1955 to 1962, had been devoted to her career as an actress. There were thus two transitional years between the two symmetrically successive phases of her vocation. These were also years of initiation: film director Jean Antoine, who made a film with her, introduced her to Magritte. The first became her husband, and the second her pictorial mentor. From Jean Antoine, she had a son, Philippe, from Magritte, she had an initiation that brought her to become one of the major player in the European artistic scene of the 1960’s.

    When Axell began to assert her painting talents, young people all over the globe were living in a world of Pop. Her seven years of painting took place against the background of the great period of cultural globalisation of the sixties and its culminating events. The urban metropolitan lifestyle of a district of New York had become a planetary existential model: Pop Art was at the centre of a socio-cultural constellation alongside pop songs, pop music, hamburgers, jeans and popcorn.

    The leaders of the new European realism were consolidating the second wave of their affirmation. Niki de Saint-Phalle was celebrating triumphant feminism with her generously curved women, César was switching from compressions of cars to polyurethane expansions. Warhol was making infinite reproductions of screen-printed portraits of stars.

    From the beginning, Axell painted in fiat tint, and cut out stylised shapes in the fabric which she then superimposed on backgrounds reflecting the influence of Op Art. As though in a premonition of the future, the car is a recurrent theme.

    And then the effervescence of the second half of the sixties proclaims the rebirth of otherness and the right to be different: others in terms of ail their protesting minorities. May ‘68 was a symptom pointing the way forward to a change in society, to the transition from the industrial world to the post-industrial world.

    Evelyne Axell
    was brutally torn from life on the 10th of September 1972.


    Source: Evelyne Axell´s website

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