Gilgian Gelzer — Vers le rouge

Exhibition

Drawing

Gilgian Gelzer
Vers le rouge

Ends in 26 days: September 7 → October 21, 2017

This is part of a Gilgian Gelzer series initiated in January 2017 by the Museum of Fine Arts in Solothurn, Switzerland. The series opened in Solothurn with Pencilmania, a look back at ten years of drawing and photography, which was followed by “Contact” at the Cabinet des Dessins Jean Bonna at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Late in 2017 the Fernet-Branca Foundation in Saint Louis (Alsace) will be presenting a large-scale exhibition. Each project — in association with Galerie Jean Fournier — is accompanied by its own catalogue.

The core of our exhibition is a group of drawings measuring 140 × 110 cm, shown earlier at Solothurn. In these pencil and coloured pencil works the line follows very different rhythms: sweeping and almost slender in some of them, it covers the entire surface, labyrinth-like, while in others repetition brings a density resulting in shape rather than line. Some lines are more pronounced, when Gelzer returns more than once to the individual stroke or the shape; in this way he achieves an overall structural blend of grace and weight.

Around 2008 Gelzer’s colours were vivid and numerous, with an emphasis on shape rather than pure line. Since then his strokes have lightened up and the colours are, increasingly, variations on blue and red; in the most recent drawings (2015–2016), however, the tendency is mainly towards red, with his coloured overlays digging into the picture space and structuring it differently. Now looming larger, then, reds in a gamut running from carmine to orange to pink endow his line with an energy all their own.

With the exception of some large works created on the floor, Gelzer has always drawn upright — a posture that allows him to relate to the picture space and engage in direct, physical contact with it. Whether he is working on a wall, a table or the floor, movement is all: not just the hand or the arm, but the entire body. "Gilgian Gelzer draws under pressure. As if literally imbued with a force, a rush of energy for which, pencil in hand, he has to find an outlet.1

The exhibition also includes smaller drawings, but whatever the format, nothing is decided in advance: the movement is driven by the urge to discover a space and give it tangible existence on the sheet of paper, however big or small. In the case of certain drawings the eye strives to follow the lines, whereas with others it sometimes loses track; but each time a movement is triggered — optical, physical, almost musical: "Gelzer’s drawing is like a march, a whirling, a veritable dance whose tempo varies: now light and springy, now jolting and demanding, as if the toughest obstacles have to be overcome for him to find his way.2

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> Fondation Fernet-Branca, Saint-Louis (Alsace), 18 November 2017 — 21 February 2018

1 Pierre Wat, “Être là”, exh. cat. Contact (Paris: Beaux-Arts de Paris Éditions, 2017), p. 11.

2 Christoph Vögele, “Cartographe et chasseur de papillons”, trans. Laurent Auberson, Gilgian Gelzer. Pencilmania. Dessins et photographies, exh. cat. (Solothurn-Wien: Kunstmuseum Solothurn, 2017), pp. 16– 24.