By Mikhail Horowitz
Man Ray (1890-1976)
Portrait of Georges Malkine, c. 1929
I was very excited to preview this exhibition, the first one devoted solely to the work of Georges Malkine, for the April 2, 1982 edition of the Kingston Daily Freeman. From what I knew of Malkine, from his daughters Fern and Shayan, he was a kindred spirit—anarchic, absurdist, and playfully allusive—and I was convinced that, of all the writers at the paper, I was the one best suited to write the story. Well, I did make a few mistakes—Malkine did not “sign” the first two Surrealist manifestos; no one did, they were not physical documents. But the Manifestos’ author, Andre Breton, mentioned Malkine approvingly in both. I also repeated some stories of very dubious provenance, solely because that added luster to the Malkine legend. And oh, yes, I spelled Cameroon wrong. But the best thing about writing this story was that it first established my bond with Georges’ son, Gilles, which has endured, nearly a thousand ridiculous performances later, to the present day. Sadly, shortly before Christmas 2020, Gilles’ home in Olivebridge burned to the ground, taking with it, along with many other irreplaceable artworks, several outstanding pieces by Georges Malkine.