Observers and dreamers

To refer to this René Char’s poem title, it highlights an ambivalence that we often find in your pieces.
I wish this exhibition was the occasion to link closely videos and paintings. Few years ago, I used video as a tool enabling essentially to feed my pictorial practice. More and more, animated sequences interfere in my art process. This exhibition report what could be a turning point in my process.

How takes place this double movement between painting and video?
To understand what it matters in this double movement between painting and video, we should start with the image, of course. In Bergson’s thinking that I really admire, images are existing in themselves They are here, alive and active. They move. We feel that some of them are worked internally by something undefinable. I think this feeling is coming from the cinema. I quote the film-maker Marcel Hanoun, “the strength of image is to interrupt herself, to achieve herself in the imagination. The real of image is in what she does not show. The event is not in center of image, but in periphery in utopian and timeless zone, inward ourself whose are watching the movie.” In my work process, the choice of images is done according to that imaginary power that goes through them and to ability to project spectator’s glance somewhere else.

Hence this tenuous link between animated and static image…
So indeed, painting will apply a strength which is based on slowdown and will enable to wake up in the image some components by a play of identification and recognition more or less tightened. And videos will work in another way, revealing new sides to images or rather some gaps and some cuts1.Handling this filmic matter I have the feeling to increase the image a new dimension, another consistency.

The treatment develop by your images seems to be part of sequence plan…
This is linked to the way we think with images, the way they set in motion our thoughts on the method of analogy, of lapse and of side step. I do not feel very well with closed or too stopped sets. I like to move inside my own work. It also comes from the fact that I am always stretched between two poles that have some different markers and scales’ issues: for example, the infinitely small and the infinitely large, the close one and the far away. I need to go and see with what images are made and how they are made. For the set entitled Map from the collection of the FRAC from Pays de la Loire, it is about images extracted from video games that simulate continually a space with three dimensions in which the gamer moves, fending off the game’s square. I wanted to take back everything at the plan, to produce a new surface thickness.

Where come from your sources that will be used as topics for your paintings?
I process like does a whole generations of contemporary artists and painters. The references’ sphere is much denser today than before. Notebooks and sketchbooks are today constituted into networks. We do not paint any more from nature but from digital transpositions. It is obvious that some images possess, to some extent, a pictorial potential that painters identify instantly. Since a long time ago codes and conventions of mediums influence each other. Some images by their specific digital qualities are true paintings in power: it is like these images matched exactly with our own vision of things. That is fascination on the Internet, is precisely this material in motion, where temporalities and references juxtapose and overlap each other in rough way.

What do you want say by those words?
There is the idea to be sometimes in presence of fossil images. For example, in one of the three videos “les horizons”, we see construction site hut in a landscape. In the background, a hilly relief seems to cover a roof and so to awaken in our consciousness house’s archetype. I really like these slippery that helps us to “recognize” the world. Because it is in fact about that. Our visual perception is an identification system. To perceive an object, I must have already seen some similar ones. That’s why I am thorough to images digital treatments. Images recordings and combinations that operates in an atlas are a way to hide in order to better understand what is looking at us. Why an image will become a paintings, that is the engine of my research.

Your videos are playing to be as paintings in the same way as your paintings distil often suspended time. Between “no place” and contemplative place, how do you operate?
This is often images that own to me and that are linked to a travel context, a physical displacement in catalysts places for me like walk in mountain. The fantasy of the travel is very important. Then I work capture as a matter or a painting. I have by the way some difficulties to name as video that process, it is rather loops or sequences, like landscape’s rumours without narration. For example, in the video, Infiniment blanc, we have the feeling that forefront is painted, or at least that it is not made with filmed matter. I like when medium influence each other because I consider it above all as conversion or equivalences surfaces that produce sometimes some surprises, some pretty aberrations in the optical sense.

Mobilis in mobile, intermezzo, we can speak about slumber spaces…
It needs to have some scrambling, I want trouble exists in my images. I try to ensure that image is tilting as Bergson’s philosophy: to perceive is not to represent to ourself matter, it is the matter itself. The perception is identical to matter.

In the same way, to remember is not to represent to ourself past, it is the past itself. For Bergson, a matter is defined as a set of images where the past is each time activated. I can also find in my images these past’s intrusion inside the present time, they are never alone, they possess an out-of-scope that is also a time.

In your pieces, there are creations marked by mineral and snow presence, cold ambiance. Why this recurrence?
If natural element proper to extreme places is present as fundamental matter, It may come from attractiveness and mountaineering, a practice in those places. Several things are involved: the relation to global view and a distance in mountain landscape, the relation to effort and to slowness in path, the relation to climate, to elements that transmutes. Why are we so amazed when it snows? Between absence of marks and marvel, ephemeral matter that covers all surfaces, permits us to attend with magic feeling a world vanishing to make it appear again like for the first time. Mountain is one of those scarce places on earth where the conquest idea is still possible. The climbing on the top of Himalaya remains a fantastic expedition for the common people. And white stain fascinates since the beginning, it creates some distance at the same time that it abstracts space. I use these kind of abstraction in some of my paintings.

Human is almost unrepresented in these landscape perspectives, except for series of Les Observateurs…
Yes, it is true. However, his presence is never far. In videos, we feel it to near some sequences. The clue of viewing presence exists also in my paintings. I use the specific figure of the observer in reference to the physics, in order to join some objects of vision coming from different sources and to activate distancing and gap games. In L’Oeil absolu, Wajcmann descibes perfectly the eye’s machinery extension and prosthesis of glance that come to fill our desire to see. Finally, it still exists someone who sees. Even if he hedges. The introduction of these figures is a disturbing element in the whole of my production. Their glance queries our own and in the same time seems to ignores totally ourself.

This allegory of visible browse your work as a mise en abyme. Whit Les Observateurs, there is the idea of images reflects…
It is about a conception of world perception that always ended with an image. The extension of the look field follows the progress of science speech. My Observateurs are like this telescopes setted in some places in the world taut the far away. The problem for science today is that things that have to be discovered cannot be seen: I think to the universe’s black matter. We have to see in some way by rebounds. We already know that universe’s morphology is prone to every kind of distortions, or even mirages, but here, it is something else because we don’t know of what is constituted this hidden matter. We are waiting any signal. I am fascinated by observatories that are turned towards the universe, as the ones we can see in Les horizons videos: based in Chilli, they observe the coldest zones of the universe in order to study the stars’ birth. This video triptych shown in the attic room is purely the poetic illustration of that.

The exhibition’s title: Champs magnétiques is again a winck to science field.
Yes, the exhibition’s title is in fact a clue that suggests potential combinatorics between pieces in the context of the place. The Oiron’s castle by his story and his mainspring, is a place that do not leave anybody indifferent. I did a choice between a lot of pieces until the path in the three spaces of the castles enables a kaleidoscopic drift echoing the dense and sensitive memory that surrounds the castle. In this goal I wanted put forward new balance and tension points between painted pieces and video sequences.

Watercolours of relays antennas refer to an invitation…
Framed in low-angle and treated with watercolour’s lightness, relays antennas evoke indeed the density of the electric signals that cover and cross our territories. There is the idea that these objects produce an energy that our perception cannot grasp, even less see but that concentrate in themselves a pictorial potential extremely powerful. We could almost hear signals’ noise, if the title gave to these antennas with diverse morphologies, Quiet, was not producing a light disruption.

In the media world where screens reign, some artists opt for positions that interrogate performance, we don’t feel in your work some specific critical position towards images…
Personally, I am less in denouncement position than in appropriation and interpretation. To deprive oneself of the fictionally ability of images, will be to deprive oneself of everything, to think the reality and in that I think it is more pertinent to organize other flows themselves. It is necessary to interrogate what they can contain and so their ability to show something else. The painting is a medium of desire that requires time to displace the gaze. It is in some way my measurement instrument. Another medium can approach the notion of image thickness and slippery of space, the video. The two of this mediums occupy in my work a space of dialogue quite stimulating.

René Char