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VICTOR CHAB

Time goes by! Trivial thought I cannot skip having when I write these lines and I realize I have known Chab for 50 years. Our first cooperation goes back to 1950, when Boa appeared. Chab is, thus, one of the first argentine participants in Phases activities, and the only one who remains up, vigilant, ready to receive the images which deserve being on his canvas. I make these temporal comments but I do not want to stop on them, I allow to slip on every being, some sand grains taking the colours of the specific vission Chab has of the surrealistic paint.

Victor Chab , self-didactic, went through his first surrealistic phase by the 50s as we can see it in his Dialogues between two characters (reproduced in the catalogue of the exhibition surrealism new world) showing the influence of Brauner and Lam. In 1958 he evolves into a poetic abstraction, in which he is inspired by the reminding of Klee where the matter is particularly rich and worked on to the extreme. He will persist on this and it would take him in the 60s to the creation of monsters textured in fantasy that have always characterized this painter.

From 1975 our information misses updating ( because Gral Videla comes to power…). Somehow the catalogue Lautréamont 100 years, 1970, is the last important document giving us information of painting with poetic expression in Argentina . Victor Chab´s work, reproduced there, called, Voici la follle qui passé, taken from a text by Isidore Ducase , that anticipates, without knowing it, the sublime and tragic roundabout of the crazy women at Plaza de Mayo…

On September 25 th , 1992, when I had just finished to write the text of a lecture I was going to give in Argentina- I found in my mail a letter from gallery de la Rue Lepic , unknown so far to me. Opening it I discovered an invitation and catalogue to a soon exhibition of Victor Chab . Big was my surprise (and my emotion) to see the name I had written just an hour before able to cross twenty years of silence to arrive in the correct moment to answer the questions I was placing myself.

Chab was at that time in Paris , as I soon checked, to attend his first exhibition in France , and of course, my last visit to a gallery in France before coming to Buenos Aires was to Rue de Lepic .

Chab´s painting had developed, in the best of the senses, with an increasing originality. He integrated the pictorial matter, through collage, shreds of textile appearances carved with shaving razors, becoming ghostly creatures made of silex lightnings , evolving into dessert spaces. Both times fantastic and gesturing, it was some work Harold would have liked because Chab had at that time magic similar to his.

Today, as time inexorably goes by, Chab is 71 years old, but he is pushed by the same youth that oriented him with his Women, Virgins, Dementes (Mad people) conceived in a very big format painted and exposed in Lima , 1975, exhibition shown under the protection of the great Czech surrealist Jindrich Styrsky . Like him, Chab consolidates his My childhood in my country. My dreams are my country and with Toyen , surrealist among all, assesses My worries are not plastic, they are poetic and moral. As Chab follows this line of behaviour , that was his from the moment he got to us, to the nucleus of Phases and the international surrealist, I think he will continue renewing himself, surprising us and will always bravely play with the fire of images.

Édouard Jaguer

February, 2002.