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Parallel Gallery - Geneva Switzerland


So many individual painters, so many different manipulations. But there is a common concern, the painter's relationship to the (specific) constituent elements of painting: the canvas, the stretcher (or the stretcherless), the colour, and this not in a technical or material demonstration, but in a setting in contact and in action of these different elements to the point where one can say that I subject the painting to the painting itself.

The canvas: some are "free", others are mounted on a stretcher.

Where does this difference come from? First of all, one cannot deny the fact that the necessities generated by the practice have determined this choice: a "return" or a tendency to return to the sources, to the primary elements of the pictorial practice have pushed a certain number of painters to work in/on/with the canvas. It is very difficult to "manipulate" the canvas if it is initially "fixed" in the rigidity of the branches of a frame! Those who want to dye, fold, cut, print can only do so by working on the canvas placed on the ground, a place that can be walked around, bypassed, approached from all angles and sides.

The canvas is then considered as a working element that must be taken into account and that goes beyond its traditional function as a neutral support to be covered, thus annihilating. Through its texture, its flexibility, its properties of absorption or retention, it participates in the elaboration of the painting.

But let there be no mistake: the fact that some painters have chosen the free canvas to express themselves does not in any way exclude work on canvas stretched on a stretcher: the stretcher then regains its role as a support for the canvas or sometimes intervenes as a compositional element by being revealed on the surface of the canvas by the process of applying the colour (this is the case with Laksine).

Colour: Whatever the manipulations of the canvas, they are always carried out in function of and for the benefit of the colour. Colour is seen and worked as a living and "figurative" material: nothing is less "abstract" than colour. It has its own life, its contradictions, its ability to conceal or reveal itself.

And where is the painter in all this process? He is there to discuss, arrange, organise the work like a conductor distributes the roles of his performers. It is he who decides on the setting up, the implementation of these different elements, through the knowledge he has of his material (his "painter's craft") on the one hand - and on the other hand what he invests with himself, his desires, his repressions, his pleasure in painting, what we could call a staging of the unconscious which is his own.

The canvas emerges from the canvas, the colour is born from the colour, the painting is born from the painting.

Colour: it is painted with / in / on the canvas, its support never neutral, whether it is antagonistic or complicit.

F. P. (April 77)


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