Jean-Michel Gasquet : "Beveled thoughts"


Exposition passéeDu 28 mai au 11 juillet 2010

But stop for a moment, stop short in front of one of these bevels, and you’ll understand that the war isn’t over. Because even though each work is a victory, the war goes on. What war ? The one that is fought between the thoughtful, calculating draftsmanship (lines, angles, figures) and the color, which simply lies back in enjoyment. This war doesn’t need a winner, it begins over and over again, if only for the good of painting itself. Provided we don’t look at an exhibition the way we glance at a landscape, provided we try to see what the works see, we are automatically drafted into the struggle. I see it as the struggle of thought with itself, a thought all the more profound for being pure form—wordless, beyond words, beyond the word-for-word translation that the brain performs when it tries to speak about its own being in the world. Here painting thinks superbly, by its own means.

The artist exposes his work to us, but only in order to expose us to his work. Take one of the Bevels from the “black series” : after aesthetic emotion comes mental concussion. A moment ago we saw order, balance, and perfection – now we see it move, tremble, dance before our eyes. This dance is the Bevel thinking ; what we thought was a pure composition or construction (ah, yes, art construit) suddenly collapses and rebuilds itself as surfaces become hollow and spaces – I would say scenographies – appear, only to disappear again, contradicted by the busy “mind’s eye.” In short, you are bedeviled : the bevels have become a problem with no solution. You’re lost, all at sea. Your sensibility and intelligence fail to figure anything out (just as they fail to figure out life, death, and love—I won’t even mention God) ; and yet—and this is the wonder of art—this failure is a pleasure.

Now do the corollary of this experiment with a Bevel from the colored series. Perhaps it’s due to the color—the Matisse angle—but it looks as if we’re saved, we’re no longer trapped. These Bevels offer the special pleasure of solved things —but which things ? We’re delighted with the solutions, but remain dizzily ignorant of the questions that were asked. The riddle has been solved—but we don’t know which one !
I think you get the point : these Bevels are sharp. That, at least, is my slant on the show.

J. F. Peyret April 2010

The gallery is participating to the event Nomade in collaboration with the town hall of the 3rd arrondissement from Paris


Jean-Michel Gasquet : "Beveled thoughts". PROLONGATION