Jean-Yves Tadié has not stopped writing about Proust, ” In Search of Lost Time “. But it was with Malraux that he made a “Meeting with time”. Malraux, all of whose books are undergoing a perpetual metamorphosis, not just the one titled the metamorphosis of the gods. This “metamorphosis” is undoubtedly a key word for someone who was an editor and iconographer before becoming a writer. He is the man of metamorphosis, said art historian André Chastel, who referred to a famous published photograph which showed the man in his house in Boulogne, in the midst of dozens of photos displayed on the ground, “As if he was undertaking an immense success”. In fact, he was in the process of putting together the silver prints and sheet prints of his great work from Imaginary Museum of World Sculpture.
The “imaginary museum” is Malraux’s other key notion, which is even a real visual adventure. “I call an imaginary museum the totality of what people can know today even while not being in a museum, that is to say what they know through reproductions, libraries”, he said. This is to say if Malraux is a man of our time, with an elliptical, visual style: “We will represent a painter not by his complete work, which is only part of history, but by his masterpieces”, as the interpreter Jean-Yves Tadié, who sees there one of the principles of the imaginary museum. You should know that Malraux did not consider himself an art historian, and that he was not very well regarded in the profession anyway. He said he read art history backwards, and what interested him in art was precisely “His power to destroy history”. Malraux is the one who feels and experiences that we are eternal, fascinated as he is by the survival of cultures and civilizations. He used to say that “The world of art alone triumphs over death and fate”. In his book, Jean-Yves Tadié has collected all the prefaces and introductions he has devoted to him, including that of his Notebook of the Popular Front, where Malraux has the feeling of being in the presence of History – and ” for him, said Tadié, to write History, like that of art, is to compare; it is living it as a poet in a moment that escapes time ”. It is time regained.