My current exhibition is more related to my own narrative. The subjects are directly linked to the past of my family or even the place where I found these old photographs: in my grandmothers house at Trois-Rivières (Guadalupe). These old photographs became the area where I had to live the process of painting. This process is more of a repetitive choreography than a spontaneous gesture. The meditative gesture leads the body to be, instead of doing something technical. In this way, inconsistent energy overflows through the body into the canvas and fixes old memories with our spirit imbued by a past: base of what we are.
For sure! Supported by the feeling of going down a pool at Almine Rech space in Brussels, I love the idea of being on the threshold of the painting. The squale as a bridge, we are between our reality and the reality of the painting, between the projection of our mental images and the matière of the painting, and between two spaces. That asks the question of the surface which I play with; paint from the back for example, and the subject of my last exhibition at Almine Rech Paris (Matignon): sous le niveau de la mer.
My first paintings were self-portraits. Through years the question of "I" took several forms: my personal archive, but also my family one’s, the fact to work with assistants, the opposition of the process and my spontaneous gesture. My best discovery of these experimentations was the consideration of myself as a painter instead of "doing paintings". That gave me the liberty to BE at the studio and that made paintings. Maybe one of my future exhibitions will called "I, is an other", sentence from the French poet Arthur Rimbaud which make sense to my autobiographical work.
I am sensitive with "incarnation" incarnation is to give flesh to an idea; the meeting of words and matière. Far from the idea of figurative or abstract, I believe in the incarnation of an idea, the way of doing, the process, in the flesh of the matière of the painting, through the human body. I don’t need to see what I’m doing when I paint. At the studio, my assistants and I applied mechanical gestures. In a choreography settled of layers, the painting exists slowly, silently, blindly in the dark. Before the reveal.
When you don’t recognize, you project images from your memory on the matière of the canvas. These matière are made through the body of the painter and his memories. The painting is between these two interiorities and creates a connecting space led by the flow of a common memory. Here the sentence « I is an other » makes complete sense!
My paintings need a partially repetitive gesture to exist, so I work with assistants to support me in that task. This gesture, exclusive to my process, doesn’t require knowledge. Anybody could assist me, I choose assistants with profound human qualities: empathy, confidence, and quest of sense. Because you must find personal travel through a mechanical gesture.
The assistants applied mechanical gestures under my lead. I don’t ask them to create, but to apply a process. For a short moment, we live together at the studio and create the same energy as a family melting in a space.
Yes, I mostly work in the dark and blindly, because of the projector I partially use and layers of tape on the canvas. I also work with the reception of an image given by the painting, I become the first spectator of my work. After their apparition, there is no rule, I can throw away the canvas, or accept it like this and do nothing, work directly or I can even put it around and work on it later. I’m not attached to my pieces; they must live their life. And without me it is better. Because the viewer also makes the canvas.
Places were important for me because I used to work for several months on a singular canvas. I locked the space’s energy into that canvas through a long process. And after, I had to leave this space to give me enough energy to do another canvas. The Caribbean was great for the feeling of a strong nature (stronger when you’re a child!) Represent this feeling by living the matière. In Casablanca, I learned to work with assistants and to find my place/their place in the studio.
Thanks, that’s a great presentation of my work! I love oppositions, not to find a balance but to let the contrary exist in the same place. That gives a space to let the viewer live the canvas. Like breath, you need to inhale and exhale to live, a painting needs the same. Let the painter find great oppositions with chemical reactions, which can give birth to the canvas.
My work is inspired by analogue photography in the process: paint with three primary colors, project light on a screen (cotton), let the painting dry in baths of oil painting, work on the back of a canvas (negative). We are in a darkroom. The surprise is a melt of all that translative ways of paint but also by the blindly layers process. I need to have fate, to hope, and receive painting like a grace.