Past Exhibition - Razzle Dazzle, art counterattack!

Around the commemoration of the landing of the Americans in Brest in 1917, a subject as little known as surprising: the camouflage Razzle Dazzle of the ships during the First World War.

As part of the 14-18 Centenary, the National Museum of the Navy in Brest presents its new exhibition with the enigmatic title: "Razzle Dazzle, art counterattack! ".

Around the commemorations of the landing of the Americans in Brest in 1917, this exhibition presents a subject as little known as surprising: the Razzle Dazzle camouflage (dazzling, blinding, gliding) ships during the First World War.

In November 1917, the first convoys disembark the American troops in Brest. They will soon be 1 million to transit the city of Ponant. Mauritania, Olympic, Leviathan ... the requisitioned ships cross the Atlantic painted with strange frescoes that give them an air of zebra or harlequin. With earth camouflage, the Razzle Dazzle is perhaps the most unusual innovation of the Great War: submarine, plane, tank ... Based on the principle of optical illusions, it aims to deceive the sub enemies by creating false perspective effects to make it difficult to calculate heading and speed. This painting with abstract and geometric motifs is inspired by cubism; it is created by mobilized artists.

To present this subject, the National Museum of the Navy, compares one hundred original works with the contemporary creations of the collective XYZ. In residence at the castle, and 100 years after the artists who initiated it, the plastic artists Guillaume Duval and Jean-Baptiste Moal transport us in the graphic and colorful world of Razzle Dazzle.

The XYZ collective

XYZ is a collective of visual artists founded in 2013 by Jean-Baptiste Moal (X) and Guillaume Duval (Y), who are the pilots. They collaborate regularly with other people or organizations who act as tellers, agitators of the initial structure and complement creative possibilities. The third angle of this variable geometry is Z.
Their work consists of a contemporary plastic approach to historical, patrimonial and societal elements. They act like a kaleidoscope in multiple fields of research: typography, illustration, comics, painting, installation, exhibition, design, editing and graphics. They have been exploring the subject of dazzle painting for several years

More than 300 high school students mobilized

As part of the exhibition, the museum works with students from two technical high schools in the Brest region.

A large-scale partnership has been set up with the Lycée Dupuy de Lôme (Brest) where 300 students from various fields (technical, general, ULIS) are associated with the project. The aim is to enable them to understand the variety of occupations and actions associated with the design of an exhibition. They participate in the preparation of the scenography, the animation of workshops for children and the promotion of the exhibition in the urban space by creating frescos and sculptures inspired by the museum's collections. These actions will also enable them to discover the themes and issues of this period of history.

A class at the Lycée de l'Elorn in Landerneau has realized a part of the stage furniture: showcases, interactive devices ...


Jean-Yves Besselièvre, administrator of the Musée national de la Marine in Brest
Lenaïg L'Aot-Lombart, mediation assistant.

Commissariat artistique:
Guillaume DUVAL and Jean-Baptiste MOAL, plastic artists of the collective XYZ

Associate Commissioner:
Cécile DUPRÉ, heritage curator at the Musée national de la Marine