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In San Roch the camouflage camouflage

1972-07 A San Roch le camoufleur camouflé
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We discovered many posters, simply bearing this title: "Camouflages" followed by an exergue: a badly done camouflage is not only useless but harmful. The author of this research had disguised his name. We only learn (very discreetly) in the room itself that the author is a young Danish naturalized Frenchman Valentiner. So much so that chance earned him an unexpected camouflage, the neighbouring exhibition being that of the almost homonymous Valencian Valentiner.

Valentiner, he tells us, carries out his research 'in the wild' off the beaten track. Let us say that it is a well constructed, ordered and directed work. It is first of all the homochromy of animals, their ability to identify with their surroundings, even to transform their pigmentation that interested the artist. From the chameleon he arrives at the games of identification, of hide-and-seek of what exists without appearing to exist totally, of what blends and seems to dissolve, appearing only on close examination.

With a somewhat mocking smile, Valentiner exhibits military camouflage uniforms, but this is only anecdotal and Beatrice Janicot's research on camouflage in mythology is otherwise well supported.

The texts presented are worth a careful reading, they shed light on Valentiner's approach, reviewing the metamorphoses of Philemon and Baucis of Narcissus and the camouflage failure that is Satan, since he cannot hide either his forked foot or his smell of sulphur. All this is not lacking in spirit and should be susceptible to valid extensions. In any case, it is an exhibition which, under an apparently fanciful aspect, does not lack depth.



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