Born in 1923
Judit Reigl, born in 1923 in Hungary, studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest from 1941 to 1945 and discovered, during a stay in Italy, the painting of the old masters. In 1950, she fled clandestinely her country in the grip of Stalinism and arrived in Paris where she was welcomed by her compatriot Simon Hantaï. He introduced her to André Breton, who organised her first solo exhibition in 1954. The artist quickly freed herself from the surrealist group and the dream of her first works to move towards a more gestural art. It nevertheless retains the principle of a «total, psychic and physical automatic writing» which favours the speed of execution and the breakdown of forms. From 1958 to 1965, she reused failed canvases, thrown to the ground, on which she «walked, poured out pictorial material», leaving room for the accident, for the «objective chance». Reworked, these constitute a new series, the Guanos. From 1966, human torsos, most often male, emerged unexpectedly from her works. These spontaneous figurations, always levitating, sometimes ascending, sometimes falling, constitute the series Homme. While the canvases of Les Déroulements (1973-1985) testify to the meeting of a gesture without formal constraint with the autonomy of the materials used, the series Entrée–Sortie (1986-1988) questions the picture in its functions and limits. Any sign referring to the movement is deleted here. Finally, the works entitled New York, September 11, carried out in 2001 and 2002 following the attacks on the World Trade Center, echo a recurring motif in the artist’s work: the body in weightlessness, plunging into the void. For Judit Reigl, the technical aspect is fundamental, from the choice of the canvas to the creation of the instruments it produces. The work is the result of a body to body with the material, a real, physical movement that takes place in space-time.