Roger Anger l’Artiste

From 8 to 28 December 2023

Tuesday to Saturday 10am-12pm & 3.30-5.30pm

Opening on Friday 8 December at 4pm

Roger Anger ‘the artist’ is the first ever exhibition of the work of an artist who, by the age of 40, had won several prestigious architectural prizes, but who never exhibited his paintings or sculptures during his lifetime.
An exhibition in Paris was planned shortly before his passing in 2008, but abandoned.
The Auroville Centre d’Art presents a collection of previously unseen drawings, collages and sculptures to mark the centenary of Roger Anger’s birth.
This production recreates the image of a polyhedral artist with a 360-degree curiosity, pursuing his own ideal of beauty. An artist and a man in constant search, driven by a profound inner need.

During the early 60s, Roger ran an architecture studio in Paris that employed around a hundred people, and dreamt, in consonance with the spirit of those changing times, of a better, fairer society.
A lover of arts from the four corners of the world, he was in touch with the innovative effervescence of revolutionary European movements. Following in the footsteps of artists who were at once painters, sculptors, architects, engineers and stage directors such as Calder and Tinguely, Dubuffet and Manrique, he wanted to try and explore absolutely everything. As those close to him and his collaborators remarked, the driving force behind his creativity were constraints and what appeared to be impossibilities.

He didn’t yet know what challenge would be waiting for him in southern India, where he had come in 1957 to meet the Mother of the Pondicherry ashram. A few years after this decisive meeting, she entrusted him with the realization of a project unique in the world, the construction of Auroville. This project turned his life upside down. His ideas and experiences would never be the same again. From then on, his life would be divided between India and France.

His approach to art is joyful, humorous and tireless. In his vision of the physical world, all phenomena are linked, and the connections between their different manifestations are boundless.
He drew everywhere, on scraps of paper and envelopes, and had his sketches cut out and pasted onto sheets of paper to make a kind of notebook that he would rework on once again.
These drawings retain figurative elements, very geometric totem figures. Over time, his art evolved towards near total abstractness through a purification of lines and forms.
He was profoundly interested in the relationships between shapes, materials and colours, opacity and transparency, and the energy flowing from juxtapositions.

It was in Auroville in 1996, when work on the Matrimandir slowed down, that he once again had the opportunity to immerse himself in his own art.
The collages and sculptures on display today were created in his studio during this period. The collages evoke small abstract universes, landscapes that speak to the unconscious, three-dimensional dreams with Aztec reminiscences and science-fiction overtones that tell us that time does not exist.

During the same period, he was also building small-scale sculptures in polystyrene that would later be made into large-scale works in aluminium, bronze and cement.
It was then that he definitively freed himself from anthropomorphism to create these sinuous figures that are so perplexing to the eye that one might almost think that the sculpture is in the vacuum chiselled around the form, as much as in the form itself; like beings in a state of transition, whose essence allows them to exist from the visible to the invisible, caught between two worlds in their momentum towards a state yet to be defined.
We are inclined to think that it was Auroville that enabled him to achieve such a level of freedom and creation.

His works take us to the brink of mystery, giving us a glimpse of the dream of a transformed future, like a promise within reach, a transcended impossibility.

Dominique Jacques – November 2023


Roger Anger was born on March 24, 1923, in Paris. He began to apprentice at the studio of Capello an artist in Antibes and spent two years in Nice at the atelier of the renowned architect Paul Jacques Grillo. He enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris graduating in 1947.

He set up his own practice in Paris in 1953. The 1960s were a prolific period, with his studio employing up to 100 people. As the architect of Paris during the turbulent period of transition, an enthusiast for both the plastic and decorative arts, he left his mark on the city with his unique style. Claude Parent says that there is an “extraordinary Anger alphabet of research, inventiveness and results”. This is amply demonstrated by the more than 100 buildings designed by his practice. His three 28-story housing towers in Grenoble, the highest residential buildings in Europe at the time, and recipient of the Belgian “Premier Prix International d\’Architecture”, Roger Anger has received other awards: le Prix de Beauté de Paris, in Île-de-France, a silver medal at le Prix de l’Académie des Architectures and another silver medal at le Prix de la Ville de Paris.

In 1956, Roger Anger visited India regularly; several years later, the Mother offered him the Auroville project, which would change his life profoundly.
So, he left Paris for another way of thinking and moved on to a different universe of forms in an open field for a major work.

In 1965, he accepted the role of chief architect of Auroville. While Roger Anger began to travel between Paris and Pondicherry, presenting the various stages of his work on Auroville. In 1968, the concept plan for Auroville was approved, and the foundation stone for the project was laid on February 28. The event involved the participation of youths from 121 nations and the support of UNESCO.
After the founder passed away in 1973, the development of the city practically came to stagnation. In 1978, Roger Anger withdrew for a few years.

He took the decision in 1980 to resurrect an old, dilapidated castle in the south of France. Jacqueline Lacoste, who had faithfully assisted him since 1970 in his various offices in Pondicherry and Auroville, joined him at Crestet castle in 1981, where she continued to help him with the reconstruction of the castle and later with the work that he produced for Auroville.

In 1984, Roger Anger returned to Auroville feeling that his work could be resumed.
His primary objective was to conclude the “Matrimandir,” which is the soul of Auroville.
Roger Anger continued his research and creative expression in his studio, where he produced art and sculpture. People close to him perceived that his hands tirelessly and playfully continued to explore materials and forms.

He was always busy but never stressed, and he led a disciplined, balanced life.RogerAnger had a noble and courageous personality, full of humor and free of cynicism.
Roger Anger passed away in France on January 15, 2008.