Martial Raysse

Necropolis I


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Not on display
Martial Raysse born 1936
Original title
Nécrepole I
Plastic, pills, doll and other materials
Object: 597 x 125 x 125 mm
Purchased 1982

Catalogue entry

Martial Raysse born 1936

T03383 Necropolis I 1960

Plastic assemblage 597 x 125 x 125 (23 1/2 x 5 x 5)
Inscribed ‘MARTIAL RAYSSE' 60' across back of top Purchased from Galerie Bonnier, Geneva (Grant-in-Aid) 1982
Prov: Arturo Schwarz, Milan, from whom bt by Galerie Bonnier, Geneva, c.1965
Exh: Mouvement Dada 1916-1966: Berlin, Genève, Madrid, New York, Zurich: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: Arman, Raysse, Spoerri, Dufrêne, Rotella, Villeglé, Galleria Schwarz, Milan, Feb. 1966 (14, repr., as ‘Nécropole I')
Lit: Pierre Restany, ‘Arman, Martial Raysse and Common Sense' in Arman & Raysse, exh. cat., Galleria Schwarz, Milan 1961, [pp.11-12]

Raysse started to collect plastic objects in the late 1950s while living in Paris. In the series of ‘Necropolis' towers or totems, the objects are enclosed in transparent plastic containers stacked vertically one on top of the other. He made in all some half dozen towers, ranging in height from about two to about five feet. The Tate's contains, among other things, pink and blue pills and a tiny doll. Another much taller work entitled ‘Nécropole Luxe et Parfum' was included in Raysse's exhibition with Arman at the Galleria Schwarz, Milan in April 1961 and in The Art of Assemblage at the Museum of Modern Art, New York later the same year.

In 1961 Pierre Restany, founder of the Nouveau Réaliste group to which Raysee belonged, wrote:

Today he is exclusively occupied with Prisunic, with the homemade object in plastic, from the baby's toy to kitchen utensils. All of these elements, eccentric and frothy, that seem joined in a mass without form are united one to the other by some point of precise and discreet fusion ... The accumulation of plastics of Raysse are unitary objects of balanced forms, of volumes controlled with a great precision; they are true and authentic sculpture autonomous in their own construction.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.555-6

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