T03679 The Ups and Downs 1977
Acrylic on paper mounted on canvas 82 3/4 × 133 1/4 (2100 × 3390)
Inscribed ‘J.D. 77’ b.r. and ‘n.42/Les vicissitudes’ on reverse
Purchased from Pace Gallery, New York (Grant-in-Aid) 1983
Prov: Pace Gallery, New York (purchased from the artist)
Exh: Dubuffet Retrospektive, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, September–October 1980; Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna, November 1980–January 1981; Joseph-Haubrich-Kunsthalle, Cologne, February–March 1981 (334, repr. in black and white, and in col.)
Lit: Catalogue des Travaux de Jean Dubuffet XXXII: Théâtres de Mémoire, Paris, 1982, no.42, pp.46–7, repr. Also repr: The Tate Gallery Illustrated Biennial Report 1982–84, 1984, p.56 in col.
The French title of this work is ‘Les Vicissitudes’. The particular series of nearly 100 assemblages to which this belongs grew out of making a large number of paintings on paper which were allowed to accumulate in disorder on the floor of the studio. Their chance arrangements and overlappings gave the artist the idea of cutting up the pieces and using them to make assemblages to which he gave the collective title ‘Théâtres de Mémoire’ (Theatres of memory) because of the way they combined evocations of a number of different places and scenes. This painting, which is one of the largest, was made on 21 January 1977 and incorporates as many as thirty-five pieces, some with Dubuffet's characteristic lively hobgoblin-like figures and some with contrasting patterns.
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986