Ileana Cornea, Paris, March 2015
Art critic and journalist for Artension magazine
What a strange adventure that the history of painting ...
One day, she stopped chatting. The image of a world with defined contours breaks apart. The lines, the segments, the circles, the colors, are enough for him. The tradition weighed like a screed. The impressionists set it on fire, the abstract, the powder. And, what energy in the Delaunay, what musicality in Kandinsky, what a strange metaphysics in Malevich and what a rhythm in Mondrian. They invented modernity from themselves, from what their eyes dictated to them, and their daring.
Abstraction, writes the critic Michel Seuphor, his great defender, "is by no means the path of facility but that of pure creation, I would say, by giving the word its etymological meaning, of the invention of oneself. Contemporary artists are fascinated by it. Matter can everything.
She gives Arnaud Gautron's paintings an intense inner life. His gestures, his imagination, his moods are embodied in his material that he crumples, loads, energizes. From Pollock, he took the gesture to produce a shower of stars. He watched Kiefer and his great fields of memory. Like Fautrier he found a way to wrap the mystery in the wrinkled skin of his painting. Landscapes?
It smells of moisture. As in nature, the sunlight in a dense forest and dark in autumn, the heat caused by its reds and ochres radiates its bituminous blacks. The transparency of the water abounds, rain dripping on the windows: "The horizons flee to the east", he titles.
Sometimes a desolate heat seems to dry up the season. Suddenly everything freezes, the humid air, the mist envelops everything. Glacial, boreal, another of his paintings reminds me of Labrador from the sky. Another, liquid and viscous, seems to smooth out like the pink interior of a sea shell, the tritonis charonia.
Ghost landscapes, reincarnated lands, the dense and dark matter, and crumpled papers, cut out, its landscape passes landscapes, their bilious states, their melancholy, their phlegm, their drought, implode.
The four cardinal moods and the four elements of nature correspond. Nature and being seem to commune in a Hippocratic abstraction. Man in the landscape, the natural man, the artist, his dreams, his material, his substance: "When a reverie, when a dream is thus absorbed in a substance, the whole being receives a dream strange permanence. The dream falls asleep. The dream is stabilizing. It tends to participate in the slow and monotonous life of an element. Having found its element, it comes to melt all his images. It is materializing. It is "cosmoses". Writes Bachelard.
For fifteen years of multiple experiences and travels, I have been confronted with different techniques and different visual vocabularies to apprehend what I am looking for: a unified instrument of expression that is singular, deep and thick and that allows me to to explore the mystery of human existence and the complexity of our interiority.
It is from now on the painting that holds all my attention and in which I dig, with each new painting, a questioning around the matter, of what it carries like memory or like trace, of what it reveals of the reality because it teaches us about ourselves, light, earth, other living things or the spirit.
Inspired by ancient traditions, where spirit and matter are one, I seek to "see through" and thus render, by an expression of my own, what I perceive of nature. By this, I try to "touch" and "make think of", without ever having illustrated or represented anything, a fragile path between pure abstraction and figuration.
My inspiration is also psychological. The study of the unconscious feeds my visual research by a work on memory, where the memory is not fixed but rather a permanent renewal of the gaze that one carries and the possibility of a waking dream.
By the technique I use, where acrylic and paper mix, I play both space and time. The paper, absorbing water, slows the drying of the acrylic and allows me to manipulate the material, to rub it, to bend or tear it, to make it flow, to move it. The light can thus arise from a hole dug in the thickness of the paper, revealing a forgotten layer.
My colors come from a permanent blend of juices whose outcome tends to gray. They are awakened by projections of thick paint that I associate with the work of permanent erosion caused by the sea and the wind.