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  12:37:00 pm, by   , 192 words  
Categories: Art, Collage


Something is nagging me deep inside: fear. Because I have to undergo an important operation. When the doctor told me the bad news, I couldn’t believe it. But when a friend mailed me lots of articles entitled “Cancer…”, I felt worse and worse. What can I expect? What can I do now?
Anyway, as much as I reflect on it, it doesn’t change the fundamental fact, the mortal issue of life. So all I can do is to go on, do my job and put some distance between this idea and my everyday life. The Jewish philosopher Rosenzweig explains that we only manage to live by forgetting that we are mortal. Till now, I managed to make one collage related to my inner state. It is called ANGST, a word that expresses what’s going on in my guts. I prefer “angst” to “fear” because it’s existential, not about a precise menace. As I tend to focus on myself and my misery and to forget the others, some humor becomes mandatory. Beside its tragic expression, my collage becomes comical because of the exaggeration – a sad clown, helpless and lost but proud. Ah, artists…


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  09:56:00 pm, by   , 253 words  
Categories: Art, Collage


Some associations with this collage:
Surrender to a "divine" message, losing one's reason: a grin, an open mouth. Manipulation: the string which is pulled from above, always ending with death. Not very optimistic a collage, but there is - of course - some black humour. It might, for ex., figure a kind of opera. A high pitched soprano with a man pulling the string to get the curtain down or trying to fetch a mini spear in order to shut her down. Many interpretations are possible because collage stimulates associations. I, the author, suggest some of them but there are more. Another example: the white grinning face with a white shirt - Rembrandt's so called Nightwatch (it's daylight)? Did I think at Rembrandt? Yes, I did, but afterwards. And what about the three hands of the character pulling the string/lance? He looks so contradictory: retreating and going foreward at one time - what's going on in him? Contradictory feelings I guess. Is the circle of the hill between them the rest of a halo? If it is, then there are maybe some religious connotations, for ex. what remains from the original message is pure gesticulation (as it used to be in many paintings of the past). Another idea: Gulliver? The flagellation of Christ?
Collage is a wonderful means of creativity!

PS I don't know if I'll be back here in the next weeks as I have to undergo an operation. Nothing terrible, but a couple of days in hospital. Till then, keep glueing, cutting or just thinking.

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  08:07:00 pm, by   , 206 words  
Categories: Art, Collage


This collage came without being announced. I like it so much that I must understand why. Maybe because it came so easily. Maybe because the fragments go so well together that I can forget them. Or is it the presence - absence like in Manet's paintings? Or is it the gavroche-like face? Or the Pinocchio nose? The more I question the picture, the more it escapes me. There is no special trick in it and the original painting is not important enough to play a big role. I try to go deeper inside: is it the fracture in the face, a sort of growing out of childhood? Too complicated. I give up. Some pictures just exist, that's all. Others are constructed and when I look at them, I see the patterns and forget about the subject, not unlike the way I look at an abstract painting. And in collage this represents a real danger. Because when the edges are too sharp and uncorrelated, the picture is split up - broken - and the mental associations don't function. I have the same problem with some modernistic paintings, where I can't put the puzzle in order - let's say in "scribbled" painting à la Twombly. So this collage is my sweet girl.

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  07:00:00 pm, by   , 158 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

Alpha and Omega

This collage has been inspired by recent affairs in French football and my reading of Verhaeghen's Omega Minor. It's definitely not a direct link to it, but rather an unconscious workup.
Another inspiration is my recent questioning about my way of making collages: a very "realistic" one with smooth transitions or a more syncopated one as here. The reference here is - of course and more than Basquiat - Picasso. I am not sure that this is my ultimate style, the alpha and omega of my art, but I try to integrate more heterogeneous elements, to make the picture look more aggressive.
The first version of this collage still used the original background.

But then I realized that this background was too atmospheric and distracting from the figures. The change a more neutral background - in gray as in Guernica - makes the figures pop out of the picture and that's the effect I was looking for, as in all my collages.

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  03:58:30 pm, by   , 269 words  
Categories: Art, Collage, Painting


I must confess that I am more attracted to ancient masters than by contemporary art these days. I ask myself why I am so fascinated by painters like Ribera for ex. One argument is their mastership in suggesting the appearance of things and in arranging a painting in order to make it stunning. But in this they are not superior to ou modern movies, So there must be more. It lies in the subject itself, I think. And this question has been mine too during all my life as an artist. If we take the Allegory of Touch (Prado) the painting is very unusual. I immediately think of my own workshops where I make people draw what they touch - eyes shut, or let them draw, paint, sculpt without seeing what they are doing. At the same time the painting tells me something about the relationship between the artist and his work: he sees but he sees not during his work - at least I am not. So maybe I am really old fashioned, looking for meaning, for impulses to think. And these paintings seem to me as enjoyable as any comedy on stage or on screen. But why don't I paint any more? Because the times for this kind of art are over and luckily there are many masterpieces to enjoy as forever. But an artist of 2010 has to try something different, like all other forms of art. And lastly these artists surely had a more direct relationship to other humans and the world than our Western multimedia world. And that's what I feel when I look at Ribera's paintings.

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  08:12:00 pm, by   , 157 words  
Categories: Non catégorisé, Art, Collage


In the need of going back to basics - political collage was the first subject of my collages in the late 60ies, I chose news pictures for my new works. If the formal aspect is perhaps not at the core of them, I care a lot about it.

Here I took up a theme I already worked on, but I tried to give it a very aggressive aspect by tearing the pictures I used. This is counterbalanced by the praying hands, something which came quite suddenly in the picture. I then thought of those poor guys out there, fearing for their lives and surely praying some absent god (of war?).

Another collage is the one inspired of a picture of a Kyrgyz wedding and the reportage on the abduction of the bride.

I just thought of Grosz and his caricatures of the German bourgeois - here I am quite insulting for the male ...pig.

The link to the gallery

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  11:53:00 am, by   , 92 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

Child's vision

When I was a little child, just after the end of world war 2, I rember the vaccinations I underwent with fear. So in this collage, I exagerated the "victim's" figure and created a beautiful and smiling nurse - but still with a needle in her hand. The background comes from a nativity from La Tour

and I am still quite surprised by the changement:

Maybe I am on the side of the victim, even if there's no reason - it's just in the vision of the child. And that's what I wanted to show.

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  04:54:00 pm, by   , 571 words  
Categories: Art, Collage


This collage (97) has been through many states, that's why I publish it here. After 2-3 days of lack of inspiration, I already wanted to publish here a panel "out of order". But suddenly I got caught by this ad. I decided to intensify the gesture and to stuff the space in the way Rogier van der Weyden does/did. I had a hard time to get any satisfaction, but the final picture is quite dynamic.
Reading a book on the Death of painting by Laurent Wolf (Vie et mort du tableau, t.2), I found an interesting commentary on the way a picture is held together, namely in Manet's paintings. The instability of the composition is made up by the eyes which trace a direct line to the spectator. These invisible lines hold everything in the picture together like ropes. The eyes show us what we have to look at. Thus the spectator is caught, his eyes are fixed in a point and cannot wander freely on the surface of the picture. He becomes a sort of a voyeur, he is no more invited into the picture but just tolerated to be seen seeing and thus submitted. One thinks . of Medusa and her paralyzing face, of Duchamp’s installation in Philadelphia and at the manner by which art has always tried to dominate the spectator, principally by the use of frontality and a eyes looking at him.
This explains the fascination I feel while making those collages with eyes staring at me, but this is not my real purpose, it’s more about tying the elements together in order to hold them firmly together, in order to “save” the picture so that it doesn’t fall apart in its components.

Ce collage (97) a connu de multiples transformations, c’est pourquoi je le publie ici. Après 2-3 jours de manque d’inspiration, je m’apprêtais à publier ici un panneau « hors service », mais mon regard a été soudainement capté par cette pub. J’ai décidé d’amplifier le geste et de bourrer l’espace à la manière de R.van der Weyden. J’ai eu bien du mal à mener ce collage jusqu’à son achèvement, mais l’image finale me semble assez dynamique.
A la relecture du livre de Laurent Wolf : Vie et mort du tableau, ici le t.2, je suis tombé sur un commentaire intéressant sur la manière dont une image est tenue ensemble, notamment dans les tableaux de Manet. L’instabilité de la composition est compensée par les regards qui tracent une ligne directe vers le spectateur. Ces lignes invisibles sont les liens qui tiennent tous les éléments de la composition ensemble. Les yeux nous montrent ce qu’il faut regarder. Mais de ce fait, le spectateur est happé. Ses yeux sont paralysés, cloués en un point fixe, ils ne peuvent pas librement parcourir la surface du tableau. De ce fait le spectateur devient voyeur, il n’est plus l’invité du tableau, mais tout juste toléré dans son rôle d’être vu en voyant et de ce fait soumis. On pense évidemment à Méduse et sa face paralysante, au dispositif duchampien (Etant donné…) et à la manière dont l’art a toujours tenté de s’imposer au spectateur, notamment par la frontalité et le regard des figures.
Cela explique sans doute la fascination que j’éprouve en faisant de telles images, mais mon propos principal est sans doute le le lien des fragments afin de les tenir fermement ensemble, afin de “sauver” l’image en empêchant qu’elle ne tombe en morceaux.

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  05:03:00 pm, by   , 378 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

Another collage: Nana

My collages come more slowly these days, they stew as a boiled beef, slowly until the meat is well cooked. The transformation of the picture of Manet (Nana) started very quickly with the first picture glued on in, then it has been idle till the find of the legs. There I told myself that it was a bit as in a story of Grimm, where the beauty gets changed into an animal, but to look at the collage closely – what I don’t during its elaboration, I realize it at the instant when I write it – I see other motives there: at a formal level the fragment and its completion in another fragment or continuity in rupture; painting and photograph, the ancient and the modern etc. etc. But what strikes me most in this collage is the presence of the figure, its projection towards the spectator, while remaining in the surface. It is about this effect that I spoke regarding the Flemish Primitives. As for the subject: a female figure with legs of dromedary, I remain perplexed, as in front of a rebus or a mystery.

Un autre collage: Nana
Mes collages viennent plus lentement ces jours, ils mijotent comme un pot-au-feu, lentement jusqu’à ce que la viande soit bien tendre. La transformation du tableau de Manet (Nana) a été d’abord très rapide avec la première image collée dessus, puis cela a trainé jusqu’à la trouvaille des pattes. Là je me suis dit que c’était un peu comme dans un conte de Grimm, où la belle se change en bête, mais à regarder le collage de plus près – ce que je ne fais point durant son élaboration, je m’en rends compte à l’instant où j’écris cela – j’y vois d’autres motifs : au niveau formel le fragment et sa complétion dans un autre fragment ou la continuité dans la rupture ; peinture et photo, l’ancien et le moderne etc. etc. Mais ce qui me frappe le plus dans ce collage, c’est la présence du personnage, c’est son effet de projection vers le spectateur, tout en restant collé à la surface. C’est de cet effet que je parlais à propos des Primitifs flamands. Quant au sujet : un personnage féminin à pattes de dromadaire, j’en reste perplexe, comme devant un rébus ou une énigme.

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  03:07:00 pm, by   , 648 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

The dark side

The dark side
Some critics deplore the lack of beauty in contemporary art and regret the great paintings of the past (till the 19th c.). And I too admire a lot the beauty of a Veronesi painting for ex. But times have changed, advertisement and fashion have made their own the physical beauty, leaving to the painters the other side, the dark one, the world of deformation. But I must say that the ideal of human beauty is changing from one epoch to the other and that the ideal of the 18th c. seems to us as sophisticated or over done as our contemporary fashion photos.
To illustrate my idea, I’ll take the portrait of the Marquise de Noailles, painted by the French painter Largillière (1656-1746) which a relooked and which presents itself as a homogenous whole, with some allusion to mythology (Venus), painters (Poussin?) and social markers (wealth) etc.

The idea of joining a fashion photo isn’t very original indeed, but very efficient.

It accentuates the idea of the mirror that is present in the painting. The woman in the picture becomes more active, instead of being maintained in a traditional feminine role (hairstyle and clothes). The 2nd modification modernizes even more the picture (the hand, the step foreward).

The final version plays with the mirror reflection and the gesture of the new figure: does he wipe out the whole figure or the face only or does he want to clean it in order to make it neater or does he make a gesture of defense? There are many possibilities. Her just one: It’s the painter in front of his painting. He disposes only of half his own body (half of what painting can cover now). He tries to touch or grab beauty which escapes. Does he hold some pieces of gold in his right hand ? If yes, did he just receive them or will he offer them to the distant goddess who doesn’t need them ? I don’t know and will leave it to the onlooker.

Le côté obscur
Ce texte va traiter de la beauté et il est dédié à André M.
Certains critiques déplorent le manque de beauté dans les œuvres contemporaines, regardant d’un œil mouillé les peintures de la grande époque (jusqu’au 19e s.). Il est vrai que devant une peinture de Véronèse par ex. je reste moi-même béat d’admiration. Mais les temps ont changé, la publicité et la mode se sont emparés de la beauté physique, laissant aux artistes l’autre côté, le côté obscur de la déformation. Il est à noter cependant que l’idéal de beauté physique change avec les époques et que ce qui pouvait plaire au 18e s. nous semble aujourd’hui aussi surfait que les photos de mode.
Comme exemple, je prends la Marquise de Noailles, peinte par Largillière (1656-1846) et que je me suis mis à décaper pour la rénover qui se présente comme un tout homogène, avec des allusions mythologiques (Vénus), picturales (Poussin ?), des marqueurs sociaux (la richesse) etc.
L’idée de lui accoler une photo de mode n’est pas d’une grande originalité, mais très efficace, surtout qu’elle accentue l’idée du miroir qui est présent dans le tableau original. Le personnage féminin devient plus actif, autonome au lieu d’être cantonnée dans un rôle féminin (coiffure et chiffons). La 2e modification accentue encore ce modernisme (la main, le pas). La version finale joue sur l’effet miroir avec le geste du personnage : efface-t-il l’image, veut-il l’essuyer pour la rendre encore plus nette, se défend-il contre elle ? Beaucoup de possibles, dont voici l’une : C’est le peintre devant son tableau. Il ne lui reste que la moitié du corps (de la peinture), il tente d’attraper la beauté qui se dérobe. Tient-il des pièces d’or dans sa main droite ? Si oui, vient-il de les recevoir ou va-t-il les offrir à la déesse impassible qui n’en a point besoin ? Je ne sais pas et laisse deviner le spectateur.

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Blog on art, centered on collage. It is meant as a sort of logbook of my creative work.


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