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Espace Frans Krajcberg : Frans Krajcberg, the Militant


The life of Frans Krajcberg is a “Traversée du feu” (title of the biography of Claude Mollard and Pascale Lismonde, published in 2005 during the major retrospective at Bagatelle). An initiatory journey that takes us from death to rebirth and life: The exhibition invites the visitor to walk in the footsteps of Frans Krajcberg, from the 1960s to 2000. From wonder to revolt! From sublimated Nature to massacred Nature! From Contemplation to Action!

The works in the permanent collection welcome the public with their “totems”, of burnt wood collected on the scene of the fires. They testify to the force with which Frans Krajcberg denounced the ravages suffered by the lands devastated by fire. The charred trunks become magnified trees, straightened and adorned with natural pigments to alert and awaken our sleeping consciences.

In the temporary rooms, an immersive installation plunges us into his creative universe as a committed artist. A selection of photographs, unpublished films and archives, from his personal collection or that of relatives show the violence of his fight (he was threatened with death several times). Paraná, Mato Grosso, Amazonia… Brazil is burning before our eyes! In 1986 his photographic work “Queimadas” unambiguously denounced the role of man in this massive destruction. A year later, Walter Salles made the documentary “Krajcberg, the poet of vestiges”.

Frans Krajcberg’s photographs show trees in flames, landscapes smothered with ashes, burning fires, black skies of glowing smoke… and sometimes, in the middle of this desert of death, a root… an embryo of fern… or a delicate flower, a promise of rebirth, catch the eye of the artist. Nature is once again imposing itself on the devastated lands! All the cycles of life are scrutinized by his infallible eye that forces us to open our eyes wide. Yes, we can all act!

The whistleblower, the rebellious activist, and the artist come together in the same photographic gesture, with a single objective: to raise a cry of alarm to raise awareness among the viewer. His photographs, taken in the middle of the flames, show forcefully while remaining an “artistic act”. The aesthetic strength of the compositions, the work of light, or the angle of view accentuate the emotion of those who look at them. Frans Krajcberg’s eye focuses on the beauty of nature in destruction: a color, a detail, a particular shape… so many elements that will feed his inspiration latter. On the sites of deforestation, Frans Krajcberg identified the natural elements that he was going to collect, assemble, paint and rework in the studio to transform them into “Revolts”: sometimes monumental totems, which, from the 1970s embodied for him a real ” cry for the planet”.


Frans Krajcberg, the Militant
from January 12 to April 22, 2023
Espace France Krajcberg
Chemin du Montparnasse,
21 avenue du Maine 75015 Paris

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