26 rue du Départ
May 6th - June 27th 2015
“Art does not reproduce the visible; rather it makes visible.” – Paul Klee
A burden. A balance. A plunge. An outburst. A retreat. A gash. A burn.
Being a contemporary artist interested in the renewal of abstraction does not imply that one seeks to cast the material aspect aside. On the contrary, it is due to the artist’s desire to reconcile their tendency for abandoning the real that they seek to involve themselves in creating figures and tangible objects.
“26 rue du départ” (‘26 Departure Street’) is the address of Piet Mondrian’s studio, the birthplace of abstraction where, at the start of the 1920s, the artist invented a universal language of geometric forms and primary colors. A black-painted wardrobe, a red square table, and a few rectangular black and grey boxes, stand dispersed about the interior. It was through the process of interacting with their masses, in moving them about, that Mondrian came upon experiencing the mysterious harmony that exists between shapes, and the balance that colors create.
Matter is at the center of the creative process, be it in the form of a certain medium or simply a tool. Either way, it is the fibers of canvas, the fine hairs of paintbrushes that allow for creative expression to enter the world. Pigment applied to a canvas is far from passive in its role. Its mass dictates gesture, and spreading it across space and letting it diffuse throughout time offers profound points of reflection for the artist, whose wish is to experiment as much as it is to reveal.
Troika, a London-based trio of artists, scrambles our perception of shapes and spatial experience. Starting from a base of mundane, everyday material (a wash of black ink on paper and its colored transformation, a gash in a canvas, spreading candle soot along obstacles), Troika tugs at the strings of our knowledge, and brings into question those hypotheses urging us to take everything we see as not only real, but also true.Matter decodes abstraction. With Troïka, what persists is a dialogue between the surface layer and that which lies deeper within all things, a force that interpenetrates the outworld in perpetuity. Impermanence is the only steady given, and to this there stands no exception.
Joachim Bandau is a pioneer of European minimalism. During the 1970s, he placed his sculptures (known as the “Bunkers”) directly on the ground, to demonstrate the sheer weight of their material (lead and steel), as if to direct attention away from the forms beneath the sculptures. Since the 1990s, Bandau has used watercolors to give form to blocks of material, like a rising mass. Shapes emerge, and the space divides according to the spectator’s point of view. One can also find filmstrips that have been accidentally shifted, with edges blurred by sudden erratic motion. Or glass shards spread out like a hand of cards. This represents a means for Bandau to express engulfment, the passage from one space into another. His aim to reveal form through the abstraction of the material remains a constant.
Sara Favriau plays with reappropriating mundane objects through material traces. She recomposes these objects to form a new abstraction, one to spark off the beholder’s imagination.
Charlotte Charbonnel offers a new visual pathway through the material that invites the spectator to re-examine their own certainties and open themselves to experiencing an entirely made-up world.
Manon Bellet’s work foregoes depicting the world; it represents the visible only in terms of subtraction. Yet, sentient figures emerge from each image, and we cannot determine whether they take shape on paper or if our eye just assembles them upon the work’s surface.