My formal decisions are organized around the serial principle—a way of pushing the possibilities of form and also of establishing a parallel with industrial objects. Moreover, a desire to make my works endure led to certain choices in terms of materials and techniques, indeed to a specific indexation of the wall drawings.
This special focus aims to turn my works into autonomous entities with their own life span, thereby giving me some distance from the fever of creation, which I feel is vain and overly tied to our compulsive, prattling times.
These various options led me to produce homogeneous forms unified by a coat of paint of a single color, so that the eye doesn’t get hung up on details but rather flows, leading the body to discover the planes and ridges of various sides of the sculptures and reliefs, moving along the wall that holds the drawings. A surveying motion will reveal both the form and the venue that hosts it. Yet nothing is done to show how it’s all done, because that’s of no importance—“art means hiding the artistry,” as Vasari wrote (a work transcends the sum of the means employed). Nor why it’s done, because everyone can invent their own point of view, their own way of being in the present.
Opaque Sculpture Series
Set directly on the ground, these constructions have five visible sides. Only one of these planes is orthonormal and perpendicular to the ground, the others lean against it obliquely. Four of the ridges converge on the straight-edged top.
Painted in a single color, no one plane is favored. However, they stand out from one another due to the light they receive. The lighting qualities of the venue are therefore what articulate and inscribe the work in that site.
This series stems directly from the Opaque Sculpture series. As the name suggests, they are made to be hung on the wall. The “height” element in Opaque Sculpture here becomes “thickness.” Given the situation, the thickness remains relatively modest. The orthonormal plane becomes perpendicular to the wall, indicating the horizontal. Placed thus, the form seems to pivot on the wall, underscoring the idea of extension.
Painted in a silk-finish white, this series is defined by its relationship to light, accentuated by the shadows cast on the wall.
These constructions, also painted in a single color, are organized around a gap or opening that is both horizontal and vertical. The asymmetrical bases frame part of the ground on which they stand, like a threshold. From the two ends of the base there rises, perpendicularly, a portico-like elevation. This totally orthonormal construction nevertheless plays on shifting planes to encourage an oblique approach, to appreciate the perspectives and articulations teased out by contrasts in light and shadow.
The constructed elements of these reliefs frame and structure the wall on which they hang. They play on thickness not only at their edges but also within themselves, which creates a very real depth that is accentuated by shadows. Each one is painted in a single color, designed to resonate with the color and quality of the wall. The play of shadows opens a path from one to the other. Their combination produces an unstable perspective triggered by more or less oblique viewing angles and by the lighting in the venue.
This series thereby explores the characteristics of paintings.
Jean-Gabriel Coignet, June 2006