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Excess and indigence, the architecture of desire, camouflage

Expo - O excesso e a carencia a architectura do desejo a camuflagem
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I always thought that there was something ambiguous about the work of painting. So I wanted to exacerbate this ambiguity. In "66/67", before the camouflages, I did some paintings in which I dealt with the image and politics, but in an ambiguous way. You can interpret them as you like. I wanted to show how cultural and other codes were outdated. Everything that allowed us to establish an exchange, a contact, on the level of painting, was only a convention. I wanted to show that this convention meant nothing. In fact, I checked that we could easily say the opposite of what we wanted to say with very clear theoretical codes.

I also always had a problem with political commitment. I have always liked to assume a slightly provocative attitude, that of being left-wing in a bourgeois house and reactionary in a left-wing house. I try to translate this difficult relationship I have with political commitment into painting. 1: this is what led me to camouflage.

Camouflage suited me perfectly because it expressed all the ambiguity that exists in me. There was a plastic shock at Tarnbern, because I found in the camouflaged and multicoloured fabrics a great similarity with the abstract paintings of the École de Paris or with American gesture painting. By manipulating the camouflages, I tried to understand their relationship with painting. I have read a lot of texts on camouflage. Some of Lacan's lines seem surprising: "mimicry seems to be the equivalent of what, in man, is expressed through painting". Lacan relied on the work of Caillois who, unlike most scientists who reduce mimicry to survival phenomena, also considers it an act of artistic creation. He believes that there is an element of gratuitousness in mimicry that could correspond to human artistic creation. The use of colours in mimicry cannot be reduced to a simple survival mechanism. Caillois thinks that it is also a bodily expression.

When I talk about the similarity between camouflage and American gestural painting, and when I exhibit my camouflage in places sacred to painting, I am ironic.

Sacred to painting, I am ironic about abstract painting. But it is not only an irony, a gratuitous act, but also a personal questioning of what "is" painting. Why do I paint, why this plan, why this taste...

I found this passage in Gertrude Stein: "Another thing that interested us very much was the difference between French, German and American camouflage, when we saw them and they seemed so careful. The idea was always the same, but as the different nationalities applied it, the difference became fatal. The colour scheme was different, the outlines were different, as was the arrangement of the camouflage in each of the three sectors, which clearly illustrated the whole theory of art and its fatality. "(in Autobiography of Alice Toklas, ed, Gallimard, page 198 - 1933).

Camouflage, camouflage netting, camouflage camouflage, work on the weft (leopard), what is woven in the art world (Lettres Françaises). A work of perception and use of a material (the card and the pastel). He cut the card, folded it in two, painted one side, unfolded it and printed the paint on 8 blank sides. The motif, the "pattern", consisted of a hexagonal mesh.

It was at this time that the return to colour took place (although it had only been abandoned three years earlier). Some camouflages had been made with a non-critical colour that did not hide the sport, in order to divert the camouflage from its function. The cut-out cards form the basis of the present work. With the canvas exhibited in Limoges, I wanted to create a work of the type "Vassarely lost in Morris Louis", at the same time as Op and taking into account the materiality of the canvas. I wanted this hexagon-based composition to be very liquid, liquefied. The colours didn't work. When I finished the work, I added varnish and carmine. The result was not great, but looking at the back of the canvas, I found what I wanted to do. So I went back to the canvas and did some more. The stretcher itself received the colour and rebranded the canvas.

But it took a long time to colour the hexagons, and the work became unbearable. So I started placing the stickers randomly on the canvas and then applying the colour. When I removed the stickers, I found my plots. I was back in my favourite territory.

What we have to see is what my painting refuses, what it takes, what it gives up. Today we are clearly aware of the distance between discourse and practice. What we have to see is what is done. Either the painting says what you are or it doesn't.

Peter Valentiner


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