No question, Robert Malaval—born in Nice in 1937 and often presented as the originator of a French version of Pop Art—is among the artists most marked by the energy of rock: ‘Rock’s a form of music whose importance lies not in its musical quality, but in the expressive mode it’s the medium for (as painting is for me): inner revolt, non-acceptance.’ The solitary Malaval cultivated an image for a while, dressing head to foot in white and turning out sculptures titled Aliment blanc (White Food) in the 1960s when others were opting for sky blue or solids and voids. There were the huge installations of the Transat-Marine-Campagne-Rock’n’Roll exhibition too, including jukeboxes with two hundred of his own records: as an artist Malaval was constantly reinventing himself. As Jérôme Sans and Nicolas Bourriaud put it in the catalogue of his Palais de Tokyo exhibition in Paris in the autumn of 2005, this underground hero had ‘been by turns Philip K. Dick-style writer, pop dandy and friend of the Rolling Stones, Zen monk recording the sound of the sea, inspired town planner, hippie visionary seeing the world through “rose-white-mauve-coloured” glasses, creator of complex environments that heralded the “cool” art of the 1990s, glam rock pioneer painting with spangles, and the inventor of a punk aesthetic who finally hurled himself like a no future kamikaze into the “vortex” of suicide’. In the spring of 1969 he began a book on the Rolling Stones, working passionately on the layout until 1973: a book that never found a publisher, but is full of his translations of the songs, press articles, drawings and photos by Dominique Tarlé, another Stones fanatic who followed the group for three years and took the famous shots of their stay at Villa Nellcôte in Villefranche-sur-Mer. Malaval appropriated these visual components, tearing up photos, putting them back together, turning the book-dummy into a musical score for a live performance with a close-to-punk energy level. ‘I get ready to paint—colour tests, setting up a chromatic range, very precise stencils or just indications on paper—the way you plug in the instruments for a rock band. Everything mixes in for me: sound, music, painting, life’—thus the man who would commit suicide in 1980 to the strains of one last record, Blank Generation by Richard Hell, the inventor of American punk rock.