Artist Bernard Rancillac Is Mickey Mouse’s Travel Agent

And the cartoon character is a rogue agent.

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Bernard Rancillac, Destination Sixtine (2013).
Photo: © Rancillac.
Bernard Rancillac, La maman de Mickey (2013). Photo: © Rancillac.
Bernard Rancillac, Le berceau (2013).
Photo: © Rancillac.
Bernard Rancillac, Le Muezzin (2013).
Photo: © Rancillac.
Bernard Rancillac, Le mur (2013).
Photo: © Rancillac.
Bernard Rancillac, Marions-nous chéri (2013).
Photo: © Rancillac.
Bernard Rancillac, Monsieur Madame (2013).
Photo: © Rancillac.
Bernard Rancillac, Sortie de la messe (2013).
Photo: © Rancillac.


When the 85-year-old Parisian artist and cultural theorist Bernard Rancillac was but 10 years of age, he viewed Mickey Mouse as a fun cartoon figure who wanted to help everyone. Over the course of his lifetime, though, that point of view shifted to seeing Mickey Mouse as a representation of America’s hand in everything. “It’s not a reproach, it’s a fact,” Rancillac said in an interview at his home in Malakoff, just outside of Paris.

With a sleek black house cat padding about his feet, the artist recalled his “first Mickey,” an oil on canvas titled Le retour de Mickey and painted in 1964.

The smiling mouse is still hard at work. At Galerie Lélia Mordoch in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, Mickey is on the loose in posed scenes that might make some folk—especially the religious—squirm.

Rancillac said he is currently preparing for a show that will go on view either next autumn or in the spring of 2016 at the Musée de la Poste in Paris. Also, some of his work will be included in the exhibition “The World Goes Pop” at Tate Modern from September 17, 2015 to January 24, 2016. For good measure, he is also in the process of compiling a catalogue raisonnée—so far, he is only up to the year 1969 and the book is already more than an inch thick. Given that his first solo show went up at galerie Le Soleil dans la tête in 1956, he’s definitely making some headway.

Today, November 8, is the final day of “Bernard Rancillac: Encore Lui” at Galerie Lélia Mordoch, 50 rue Mazarine, 75006, Paris.

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