[Deutscher Text: Seite 572]
[Texte fransais: page 574]
Articles on Ronald Searle appeared in Graphis 23, 80 and 109, a coverlsigi
his on Graphis 169. Born in Cambridge, England, in 1920, Searle spent fourlars a;
Japanese prisoner-of-war. He sprang to fame after the war with his drawir, ofcth
diabolical schoolgirls of St. Trinian's. Since then he has produced over a se'; of hi
own books and illustrated many others, has made animated films, has had c J bijt ■-/,
all over Europe and America, has done lithographs and etchings and has fouiiio -i a
'by the back door' into the galleries of fine art. Essentially a satirist, Searle has ente r,
humour that for all its sophistication goes deep and is not unknown to horrdfA hi
retrospective volume of his drawings was published by Rowohlt, Hamburg^ njsS
Exhibitions are taking place in 1981 in the Rizzoli Gallery, New York (MarcHand th
Bartsch Chariau Gallery, Munich (November). Searle settled in Paris in,)6i.bi
moved in 1977 to a mountain village in the South of France. We present here i-ciftwri
of his recent work. Editor
Opera house, orchestra stalls, first row: the people who sit here are
not just anybody. Behind them the second and third class citizens,
in front of them the action and, magnificently draped or exposed, their
own bosoms, legs, feet: the cultured ones are at their post (Fig. 8). We
observe them face to face, the stalls are now the stage, with extras galore
in the background and the meaning of the typical architecture at last
revealed: a huge layered cake as a backdrop for those who belong. In the
centre His Excellency in full gold-trimmed regalia, a monument of
dignity, come what may. Around him nothing but poise and bearingit's
a hard fate to be a representative of the national culture, though one
young lady has dared to slip out of a tight shoeahhh! The girl on the
right may learn to enjoy it yet; her spectacled gaze is full of expectant
confidence. While the girl in yellow seems as much confused by the
happenings on-stage as by her neighbour's wandering hand. The opera
glasses satisfy curiosity, but delight in detail isn't everybody's cu of fe;
the gentleman on the right is already quite exhausted. Insiga an
brocade (Searle makes do with cigar-label collage) are replaced in tbyoao
gent with the progressive specs by fetish, political emblem, eft an
high-heeled shoon. The disguises vary, but conceit and fatuityemai
nicely balanced. This is, says Searle, a project for a curtain for tBRqy;
Opera House, Covent Garden. It would be a pity if British isokbnhr
should prevent such an excellent idea from being realized elsev era
Searle's drawings can be described from the angle of their thees ar.
characters, as we have just tried to do. But the fascination of his vrk:
more than thirty years has not lain only in his invention, in the éurac
of his portrayal of faces and body language, 'the disproportion 'twer
cause and reaction, between intention and result, which he re.ateL
unmasks' (Loriot), but no less in the rich experience container in 11
graphic line. This can be felt directly in the drawings of his King Bens
(Figs. 3—6), which depend almost exclusively on line, or for insnce i
the shaggy, wavy or cascading manes of his lions (Figs. 2, 6 anao).
In his larger and figurally more complex compositions Sea: oftc
combines pen drawings with watercolour or Indian ink wash, wii
body white or collage. The clusters of lines, strokes, ticks and its w.
now part of a larger compositional framework, though their owrorm
value is not lost. The colours are not just applications, they areonsii
uents of the picture. The state of equilibrium between draw g an
painting, achieved by the variation of transparency and opaquiess
the colouring, by the dominance or subordination of the line, is a.arki
Searle's bigger compositions. Their open structure has tl san
complexity and attraction as the graphic delineation usually prefi eu
the single subject.
Figure 7, which Searle says is 'probably a symbolic represent: on'
one of the latest examples of this approach. The subject is 'the disope
tion between cause and reaction': a jet fighter, a big, aggressiyinse
with extremities as sharp as injection syringes, appears on its mere
pad. It is dark (the midnight hour?), a circus horse led by a clownppea
on the scene, on its back the goddess of Peace, or possibly of ctor-
Either way round, very theatrical and utterly out of date, fjshad
certainly nothing of flesh and blood; whether Peace or Victo: qu
unthinkable except as a piece of anachronistic clowning.
1) Insect Play. Pen and wash, 1970, 27 x 21 cm.
2) King of Beasts. Pen and wash, 1979, 32.5 X 33.5 cm.
1) Insektenspiel. Feder und Aquarell, 1970, 27x21 cm.
2) King of Beasts (König der Tiere). Feder und Aquarell, 1979, 32,5 x 33,5 cm.
1) Insect Play (Jeu d'insecte). Dessin a la plume et au lavis, 1970, 27 x 21 cm.
2) King of Beasts (Le Roi des animaux). Dessin a la plume et au lavis, 1979» 32>5 x 33»5 C1