1943: Michel OGIER was born beneath aerial bombardments on the 19th December in St Etienne in France.
1960: He joins the Bellecour print works in Lyon to learn the trade of retoucher in heliogravure and for sole baggage at that date “a prize for an ardent disposition for gambling”. During this period, he likes Maurice de VLAMINCK for his tormented skies; Bernard BUFFET for his rigid lines; George DUMESNIL de LATOUR for his purity and Salvador DALI for his imagination. Even if he paints a few small gouaches at this time, as sincere as they were clumsy; he is still a very long way from visualising a path of creation.
1968: He leaves France for Switzerland. He worked in the Imprimerie Populaire de Lausanne and revelation comes!
1971: As an expert, he participates in the new and extended edition of the illustrated monography: Leonor FINI (Constantin Jelenski/la Guilde du Livre et Clairefontaine). He was to hold in his hands the slides reproducing the painter’s works.
I was overwhelmed! It was as if she handed me the keys for which I had been waiting to open all those doors that protect us and suffocate us at the same time. I was going to be able to penetrate the matter of my unexplored spaces, wherein are born actions that throughout ones life one seeks justified. Often in my dreams, at the heart of a house which didn’t correspond to the one in which I really lived but was mine; I discovered forgotten rooms. Was I at last going to get access to them? Perhaps beneath the moss I would discover the bark and the sap wood?
For someone who had never been to art school, the challenge was on!
I had no qualms! My motivation was directly related to a demanding inner need. I started a few drawings but without waiting for their completion. I wanted no model. I wanted shapes and colours to come of their own accord. The idea of getting a damsel to take off her clothes in order to get inspiration from her features was far from my mind. The characters and the bodies that painfully took shape beneath my pencil owe nothing to a morphological truth. They came out of a held breath, of another truth.
Can one act without having learnt?
“You truly start painting when you have forgotten everything you were taught”, said Maurice UTRILLO. In that sense, I had a big advantage, but concerning technique, it would be vain to believe that in a few years you can reinvent what generations of painters have taken centuries to elaborate. Here, I must render homage to Xavier de LANGLAIS who, through his book1, gave me the methods that it is essential to put into practice for the duration of the work.
1974: Michel OGIER returns to France. He lives off the land for a few years then, he organises stays for young people on the farm where he experiences a new found freedom in sight of the Vercors. A born builder, he endlessly restores the property to satisfy the needs of the group during term time. He divides his time in two. One part of the time keeping the fridge full, the other nourishing his soul. The latter was to prove to be the more difficult. When devoting himself to the former, he complains of not being able to paint and when he gets the opportunity he feels empty and desperate. Harsh is the road that leads to self-discovery. As witnessed in the beautiful traditional print scenes of Epinal which captures here all its meaning. Doubt being a milestone on the blind man’s journey! Allowing what you are unaware of to surface taking care that nothing should alter the fragments of early babbling truth, what an adventure!
1977: Meditating before his few finished works, he understands that the tiny canvas he is to name later “Le cri de l’utérus” (the cry of the womb) possesses its own language. He then burns all the rest and takes up his pilgrim’s paint- brush.
1981: Two canvases
1982: Three canvases
1983: He builds his first real studio. A large window opening onto a hillside where deer keeps him company.
1984: Magic took over: seven paintings!
1985: Eight paintings.
Fatally, his friends get access to his work: they discuss it and suggest he put it in an exhibition. His works were then shown to Monsieur Jean AUGIS, president of the Fine Arts Society of Lyon, who immediately suggested he should take part in the Lyon Salon de Printemps.
I was completely caught unawares! At that period of time, it was not part of my intention to exhibit or sell. Truly it didn’t even enter my head. I wanted to pursue my quest in silence and isolation, which were essential for me. I saw no selfish act in that on my part, no denial of the outside world. You don’t bring unripe fruit to the market. It was as simple as that!
But outside pressure was soon to stir a slumbering vanity. “What originality! What power! What purity! What violence!” All these qualifications got the better of my reasoning…after all…why not!
The period of backward looking exhibitions
1986: Medal winner at the Salon de Printemps of the S.L.B.A. in Lyon. Exhibition in Lodz in Poland. Group exhibition at the Salon des Independants in Paris. Two galleries contact him.
1987: Exhibition at the Salammbo gallery in Paris. The university of Paris 8 makes a video about his work.
1988: Group exhibition at the Salon de Printemps S.L.B.A. in Lyon. Collective group exhibition in Saillans in Drôme.
1989: Appointment as vice president of the Lyon Fine Arts Society. Group exhibition at the Lyon Salon de Printemps. Exhibition at Vinay (Isère). He leaves l’Isère for Montmaur-en-Diois (Drôme)
1990: His last exhibition at the Lyon Salon de Printemps. He resigns from the Lyon Society of Fine Arts. From that point he has no further outside engagements.
The hermitage period
91-98: With a panoramic view onto the Glandasse Mountain, seven years of secret creation, of spontaneous evolution and finally the momentous decision.
It is time that the images born beneath my brush come to life through others eyes! In my studio their story comes to an end. Let them be invested, jostled, tamed. Let them be criticised, caressed, interrogated! They may contain a small part of the secret, a small part of mankind. “Intellectual understanding is an illusion”, wrote L. PIRANDELLO. If between us and the work, there has to be a meeting: it must necessarily occur elsewhere.
1994: He paints directly onto canvas without any preparatory study.
The period of desired and determined exhibitions
1999: Exhibition at the ancient temple of Barnave (Drôme) “Pleasure under pain? Pain in pleasure…a perfect mastery of light and materials. Twisting reality in order to reveal it better? A dream from which it is hard to escape, no doubt because it inhabits us and we are unaware of it! Thank you Michel OGIER! You dare, and we take pleasure in it!” Michel FAURE, vice-president of the Conseil Général de la Drôme. Group exhibition at the Château de Gruyères in Switzerland, Centre International de L’Art Fantastique. Group exhibition Arte Europa Reggio 2000 (Reggio Emilia, Italy). Works are exhibited at the Galerie du Vieux Lyon (69).
2000: The SAFIR Association (The Society for the Art of Fantasy, Imagination and Dream) invites him to join their movement. A group exhibition organised by SAFIR in the town hall of the IX arrondissement of Paris. The opéra gallery in Paris exhibits him for the inauguration of its gallery in Soho in New York. Group exhibition at the Château de Gruyères in Switzerland. Group exhibition at Reggio Emilia in Italy. Exhibition at égérie véga, Vevey in Switzerland. Group exhibition organised by the Jardin des Arts in collaboration with SAFIR in Barbizon (77). Group exhibition at the Petite Galerie, Concise in Switzerland. Group exhibition at the headquarters of the SAFIR Association in Paris.
2001: Group exhibition organised by SAFIR at the town hall of the IX arrondissement of Paris. 112th Fair of Independent Artists.
2002: Exhibitions in Africa organised by Art Promotion International in Libreville (Gabon), in Douala (Cameroon), in Abidjan (Ivory Coast). Exhibition at the galerie Dunoyer in Saint Paul de Vence. Group Exhibition organised by the SAFIR Association at the Manège Royal de Saint Germain en Laye.
2003-2004 : He is looking for a new place to live and to open a studio.
Since september 2005, he have his own exhibition in Cap d’Agde, Atelier de la conque, 1 rue du Fortin, 34300 (Hérault, France).