Douglas MacDiarmid was born in New Zealand in 1922. As a child, drawing and painting became for him the most natural means of expression, a sort of half-conscious dream in which an abundant vitality pours out, sometimes tormenting him and sometimes overwhelming him, both physically and mentally. His father, a devotee of comparative religions, passed on to him his passion for the Mediterranean world. Greek temple sculptures fascinated him. The splendid nature of his country touched his secret sensitivity. Attracted to volcanoes, this theme became the focus of one of his first works in 1945, the Ruapehu volcano. The impact of the disturbing reality of these vast silent landscapes and the attraction of the Greek world represent the two main sources which nourished the artist's childhood, and they provide the major themes for his paintings: the earth and the sculpture of bodies

Later, far from the home country he left in 1945, when he chose to dedicate his life to art, the young man received three successive "shocks" which led to a new phase in his art. MacDiarmid received the first in Spain where he found himself attracted by the paintings of el Greco, in which form and colour spoke to him of passion. The second, in Italy where he encountered Giotto in the high Church of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi and thus discovered the profound religious nourishment he sought. The last happened at Geneva in a phrase from a Bertrand Russell book, "The world is made up not of objects but of events." It came as a shock for the artist for whom the impact was violent enough to bring him out of himself and to make sense of his own discoveries.

In conjunction with this exhibition, there will a talk by Nelly Finet on the paintings of Douglas MacDiarmid.