The creation of Critical Figuration

Critical Figuration was created by Mirabelle Dors, Maurice Rapin and Yak Rivais. These are the founding members. The statutes of the association were deposited on July 4, 1978 (publication in the OJ N° 168 of July 20).

Maurice Rapin and Mirabelle Dors were very involved in the surrealist movement in the years 1952-1954, in the final phase of this movement. The quarrel with Breton occurred when he joined the declaration of “tachism”, developed by and defended in the group by Simon Hantai.

meeting of the surrealists around Breton
surrealist meeting in a Parisian cafe

The first Critical Figuration Salon (Show/fair) was held at the Luxembourg’ Museum from 9 to 26 November 1978.

Mirabelle Dors was President from 1978 to 1994. Maurice Rapin held the role of Treasurer and Secretary

The most successful years of these shows were between 1986 and 1994, as can be seen in the catalogs of these years, which often include 200 to 300 artists. (see catalogs’photos reproduced below)

The first 3 years were very difficult from a financial point of view (the worst in my life said (after) Rapin). The major change came when the CRITICAL FIGURATION Show was able to exhibit at the Grand Palais, at the invitation of Mac A1voy, then President of the Autumn Salon.

It was in 1983. At that time, the Autumn Salon was at the bottom of the Grand Palais, and the Critical Figuration Salon on the passageways upside. Each artist had the possibility of exhibiting 3 works, for the modest sum of 300F (ie ~ 50 € currently)”

Among the artists who have gone through Critical Figuration Salons, we can cite the most famous of them: Berszinski and Jean Rustin. But we could catch the names of many other artists who have made their way in galleries : Ceytaire, Schmetz, Taillandier, Yak Rivais, Duranel, Jean Luc Juhel, Jorg Hermlé, Kleinmann, Pouchous, Merlier, Brennnen, Fontferrier; Kai Yuen Chan… just to name a few, all of them quality artists

From the start, the Critical Figuration took on an international stature. Many foreign artists, residents in France or Francophiles, participated in these shows. It is thanks to them that many exhibitions have been organized abroad (see list below).

From the 1985 year, weekly meetings were set up, first in the premises of an MJC in the 4th district of Paris, then in a cafe near the Mutualité. These meetings allowed to exchange between the artists, to organize the next exhibitions and also to present his work to Mirabelle Dors and to the artists present, when someone wanted to join the group

There was not strictly speaking a Management Committee for the association. Mirabelle decided everything herself, and each time entrusted to a new sub-group the management of the exhibitions which were mounted here and there, at the Grand Palais, in the regions or in foreign countries.

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