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Michel Bouvet

Cultural event posters

4 July - 18 September

10H00 - 19H30

Michel Bouvet is one of today’s best-known poster makers, both in France and abroad. This profoundly humanistic artist graduated from the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1978.
An illustrated poster—the advertising variety aside—is aimed at a range of publics: people in the street, cultural circles and connoisseurs. The theatre, opera and cultural centre kinds demand real dialogue between client and creator: the author of the play, the director or the head of the centre has to be questioned so as to home in on the work’s specific features, style and meaning. A detailed, respectful breakdown of Shakespeare, Jean Genet or Chekhov is a basic requirement which Michel Bouvet undertakes scrupulously, shaping a graphic translation of his subject that reflects the rigorous personal criteria that are his trademark. With its powerfully distinctive language a Bouvet poster conveys all the essentials, catching and holding our eye and obliging us to understand while at the same time intriguing us with its accomplished use of graphics and / or photography.
For Bouvet the creative process begins with drawing, but it can also involve the work of photographer / artists like Francis Laharrague and sometimes call for the creation of an artefact. One striking example of the latter was the letter H for Shakespeare’s Hamlet: a three-dimensional, crenellated metal piece that was then photographed.
The Bouvet style is defined first and foremost by the black border and the outlining of the forms. The areas of flat (and often primary) colour are sealed off by these lines.
There is a coldly lucid side to his mechanical, not to say scientific process of analysis and breakdown that could make his art seem impersonal. But this is art aimed at everyone, leaving the viewer free to interpret according to a specific set of criteria, as was the case with the Pop Art of the sixties and seventies.
Viewers discovering a new poster must be taken by surprise and informed. To retain their attention, Bouvet turns this art of the ephemeral into a graphic, visual and intellectual exercise.
Bouvet is looking for universality: his visually compelling symbols and tweaked artefacts demand a reaction. The success of a play or a festival also hinges on identification on the part of those directly involved: on establishing a kind of mutual understanding between client and public. As a committed teacher, Bouvet excels in the art of guid- ing and transmitting; as a poster artist specialising in the cultural domain, he uses his mastery of visual metaphor to enhance the message and enthuse the viewer.
Marie-Pascale Prévost-Bault,
Chief Curator, Musées Départementaux de la Somme
Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue :
Michel Bouvet, Affichiste (Michel Bouvet, Poster Artist) will be on show at the Museum
in the Abbaye de Saint-Riquier Baie de Somme from
25 June – 22 October 2011.
Michel Bouvet is one of today’s best-known poster makers, both in France and abroad. This profoundly humanistic artist graduated from the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1978.An illustrated poster—the advertising variety aside—is aimed at a range of publics: people in the street, cultural circles and connoisseurs. The theatre, opera and cultural centre kinds demand real dialogue between client and creator: the author of the play, the director or the head of the centre has to be questioned so as to home in on the work’s specific features, style and meaning. A detailed, respectful breakdown of Shakespeare, Jean Genet or Chekhov is a basic requirement which Michel Bouvet undertakes scrupulously, shaping a graphic translation of his subject that reflects the rigorous personal criteria that are his trademark. With its powerfully distinctive language a Bouvet poster conveys all the essentials, catching and holding our eye and obliging us to understand while at the same time intriguing us with its accomplished use of graphics and / or photography. For Bouvet the creative process begins with drawing, but it can also involve the work of photographer / artists like Francis Laharrague and sometimes call for the creation of an artefact. One striking example of the latter was the letter H for Shakespeare’s Hamlet: a three-dimensional, crenellated metal piece that was then photographed. The Bouvet style is defined first and foremost by the black border and the outlining of the forms. The areas of flat (and often primary) colour are sealed off by these lines. There is a coldly lucid side to his mechanical, not to say scientific process of analysis and breakdown that could make his art seem impersonal. But this is art aimed at everyone, leaving the viewer free to interpret according to a specific set of criteria, as was the case with the Pop Art of the sixties and seventies. Viewers discovering a new poster must be taken by surprise and informed. To retain their attention, Bouvet turns this art of the ephemeral into a graphic, visual and intellectual exercise. Bouvet is looking for universality: his visually compelling symbols and tweaked artefacts demand a reaction. The success of a play or a festival also hinges on identification on the part of those directly involved: on establishing a kind of mutual understanding between client and public. As a committed teacher, Bouvet excels in the art of guid- ing and transmitting; as a poster artist specialising in the cultural domain, he uses his mastery of visual metaphor to enhance the message and enthuse the viewer.

Marie-Pascale Prévost-Bault, Chief Curator, Musées Départementaux de la Somme


Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue :Michel Bouvet, Affichiste (Michel Bouvet, Poster Artist) will be on show at the Museumin the Abbaye de Saint-Riquier Baie de Somme from 25 June – 22 October 2011.

Mounting and canvas by the Atelier Robin Tourenne, Paris.
Exhibition venue: abbaye de Montmajour.
Mounting and canvas by the Atelier Robin Tourenne, Paris.
Exhibition venue: abbaye de Montmajour.