Philippe Waty, Untitled, 1987, Acrylic, 150 × 150 cm.

“We need to talk about Philippe! » This cry from the heart was launched to us by Christophe Gratadou, a gallery owner from the Marais who knows the work of Philippe Waty well.

The retrospective dedicated to this figure from the 1980s will help to make known urbi et orbi the work of this emblematic creator of an era (the turn of the decade 1970-1980) still underestimated but whose popularity, with the hindsight of the years , begins to be reconsidered.

Even if his work continues until 2012, Waty primarily belongs to the mythical period 1977-1981, an era both carefree and serious, near and far where Paris – but yes! – was “gritty”, “underground”, “borderline”.

In short, “trendy” – the word actually appeared at that time. A time when London stars (Sting, Bowie, Mick Jagger, Grace Jones) came to have fun at the Palace, Bains-Douches, Rose Bonbon, Privilège and other hot spots of Parisian nightlife.

Philippe Waty exhibition

Disappeared in 2012, Philippe Waty then belonged to Musulmans Fumants, a neo pop-punk-rock band which defends minority cultures. Its members perform in clubs or in the street, at Coluche or in the editorial office of Libération.

They create frescoes for their exhibition-performances. Collaborate with fashion, cinema and music creators. They invent theater sets (for Farid Chopel) and for music videos (La Danse des mots by Jean-Baptiste Mondino).

The credits of 22, that's rock, for TV? It's them. The Palace logo? Them again or, more precisely: it's Waty. The group also creates record covers.
A wind of freedom is blowing across Paris.

Philippe Waty, Untitled, 1988, Acrylic, 120 × 200 cm.

Beautiful face, beautiful soul and beautiful energy, Philippe Waty creates effortlessly and dazzles those around him. He draws and hundreds of works to (re)discover until May 22, near the Beaubourg-Georges Pompidou center – a building which, incidentally, was built at the same time. 

With his series of Mandalas, which proves his talents as colorists, Waty uses a hypnotic grammar on large, sometimes flashy formats. We read philosophical, religious, industrial and commercial symbols. 

It is an understatement to say that the organizers of the exhibition take this retrospective to heart, convinced that Philippe Waty “is a great artist. And they are not alone. 

Regarding the Smoking Muslims, a certain British singer declared to Paris Magazine in June 1987: “I dream of meeting this group of brilliant artists. What they do is very Dadaist and full of humor. It's all I love. » The author of this eulogy? A certain… David Bowie. 

Philippe Waty. Retrospective 1977-2012. 
Exhibition Until May 21, 2022  

24 Beaubourg
24, rue Beaubourg 75003 Paris
Wednesday to Saturday from 13 p.m. to 19 p.m.

Philippe Waty, Untitled, 1990, Acrylic, 150 × 150 cm.

Text: Axel G.


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