Michel Haas — Saute les murs 02
Saute les murs 02
Past: April 4 → May 18, 2013
Letʼs make it clear from the start. Michel Haas is no more an engraver than he is a draughtsman than he is a painter than he is even a sculptor. Michel is an artist who moved beyond these categories long ago so as to concentrate on the only true question: creating.
The labels “engravings,” “drawings,” “paintings” provide us viewers with reassurance. They are guides to fall back on when faced with new objects. We always want to put mysterious objects back into a known world where we are better able to distinguish them, and yet this often leads us into making mistakes. The hardest thing is to see something for what it is, not for what it brings to mind. Michel Haasʼ work soon raises this problem, with the risk that we might pass it by without paying attention. Too different perhaps, or conversely, it seems, not different enough. But what valid work does not need time to be appropriated? Time to get to know it? A time of crisis even before it is grasped in its full singularity.
One thing never changes and remains extraordinarily palpable in Haasʼs work: paper. He makes art only on paper. It is at once his support, the terrain for his excavations, and his raw material. Traditionally, works on paper are presented framed, behind glass, which is certainly protective, but also projects the work into a space that the viewer cannot enter, heightening its iconic, alien quality. This mode of presentation totally contradicts the spirit of Haasʼs work. The substance of the paper, its thickness and folds, the tears that he makes in it give his works an extraordinarily physical quality. It functions sculpturally, sharing our space. We can touch, feel and respond to these works. They are images, not icons. As if we could feel that they too are alive and might die. It is in this sense that there is life in Haasʼs work. His heart beats there.
In this sense, too, his work is deeper than work on life. True, he represents scenes of everyday life — cyclists, couples, people working on laptops, cats, men drinking, old people. True, he finds all this in his neighbourhood, wherever his steps lead him. However, in this portrayal of his times, in this interest in musicians and dancers, in bunches and flowers and sweepers, there is a strong celebration of life.
The analytic gaze which examines “how itʼs done” gives way to the imagination, to the recollection of personal experiences that recreate inwardly the noise of a motor bike, the movement of cat, the cry of victory, or the warmth of a kiss. All these are things we have already experienced, things that are ingrained within each one of us.
Some encounters can change a life. Haasʼs work puts us in touch with something very primitive and very immediate that buried within us, like the breath eternity.
Opening Thursday, April 4, 2013 6 PM → 9 PM