MAC/VAL is opened every day of the week, except on mondays:
tuesday to friday, 10 h to 18 h
week-ends and holidays, 12 h to 19 h.

Closed on january 1st, may 1st and december 25th.

phone: 01 43 91 64 20
fax: 01 79 86 16 57

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Place de la Libération
94400 Vitry-sur-Seine


Pierre Buraglio


A very long time ago, and at a very early
age, too, Pierre Buraglio was a brushless,
canvasless painter. From 1968 to 1974, he
elected to be a paintless painter,
abandoning the ‘trade’ to join his worker
comrades in the factory. For many years he
preferred the craftsman’s tools to the
artist’s, questioning – like some of his
Supports-Surfaces and BMPT contemporaries
– the very act of painting, along with its
materials and its reality. And yet, when we
re-read about him, what a determinedly,
quintessentially, faithfully painter’s
Pierre Buraglio was born in the Val-de-
Marne, son of an architect, grandson and
nephew of Italian builders settled at
Maisons-Alfort. He lived back in the family
home, where he painted and drew on the
millstone walls built by his forbears, who
also built the famous Rock at Vincennes
In his lengthy friendship with Raoul-Jean
Moulin, Pierre Buraglio was involved with
the museum project, from its ‘invention’
right up to now. Today, he says that, ‘at
the time’, he wanted a museum that would
make the link between history and
contemporary art, whether a matter of
resistance or politics. Essentially,
however, is this not the case today? Is it
not a matter of resistance in the
commitment and expression of artists, in
their vision of the world, its critical
illumination, and of casting doubt on and
challenging reality and the state of the
world? Is this not what Pierre Buraglio
himself is after when he rejects the
painter’s traditional practices, tools and
gestures, to rather gather, stick and deal
with hundreds of packets of Gauloises
Bleues (Gauloises, 1978)? For those who
have smoked them and held them, are these
simple objects turned art motif not
souvenirs of their condition? Fenêtre
(1977), an object found on a building site,
an object turned painting, situates the
imaginary landscape within its frame,
subdivides it with its panes, colours it
with this glass chosen by the artist; it
also describes the humdrum daily round of
these little people and their surroundings.
The blockhouses on the Atlantic coast that
the artist is painting today take those
unforgettable signs of the German
occupation during the Second World War into
the field of present-day painting. But there
is no lesson to be drawn from Pierre
Buraglio’s oeuvre, just invariably this
history of pain perdu (French toast;
literally, lost bread), as invented by
Alfred Pacquement – retrieved materials
combined to create a new work – but also
History and the landscape ‘linked’
together, and subjects brought back to
memory — subjects of questioning.
He was one of the first artists to set up
the FDAC (Fonds Départemental d’Art
Contemporain) collection and believe
in the museum. Since then, we continue to
follow his activities, for while his oeuvre
is changing, it is still investigating the
possible roles of painting and its reality.
Having gone beyond calling into question
the materiality of paint(ing), Pierre
Buraglio is still, if differently,
questioning, elsewhere, but all the time:
in his mastery and in his virtuosity, in
his history – that of art and of the memory
of the great masters. In his constant
humility, with the pragmatism of the
craftsman, he is today showing his work
as is, no trickery; he lets effort,
and even errors, do their thing – genesis
of human work.
So we have come up with a circuit within
this collection that he knows and has
supported to tell the tale, in dotted
lines, of the history of his painting. His
work, which makes room for trace and loss
and which makes absence so present, finds
its way at the heart of the installation
devoted to memory. For Pierre Buraglio’s
oeuvre is above all about traces and
memory. In it, all forms are cut out,
hollowed, reassembled from scraps.
Sampling and taking were his first painter’s
gestures: window frames, masking tape in
bodywork shops, and sticking them together
again, marked by car paint; taking the door
of a Citroen 2CV and replacing the window
by a dark, almost opaque stained-glass
window, the imaginary journey gets under
way; keeping his diary and crossing out
the days as they pass, along with projects
and meetings that have been and gone.
Painting, these days – with its stretcher,
canvas and traditional tools – is on the
way back, but it is also always cut-out and
assemblage, absences and hollows, like the
‘Rochers de Vincennes’ series, a repertory
all on its own of all the possibilities of
Pierre Buraglio’s praxis.
The past is always present, indelible and
conserved. The motif has come back, but
essentially, has it not always been there,
with the object valid per se? Motifs are
nowadays represented, rocks, millstones,
blockhouses, the sea... and then art
history as an inexhaustible and relentless
source of confrontation, apprenticeship,
and humility. Pierre Buraglio these days
confronts the painting of masters great and
small, just as he has long been colliding
with reality with a sincerity that bans
artifices and reveals man in all his desires
and weakness.