Régressions & retrouvailles — Peintures de Vincent Ruffin
Régressions & retrouvailles
Peintures de Vincent Ruffin
Past: March 21 → May 26, 2012
Vincent Ruffin is having fun. And on his immense canvases the models seem to find peace and quiet, a place to connect to a distant and subconscious childhood without embarrassment, a phase before the serious times and the good manners, a place where one can let oneself go a little. To regress and escape, from the reasonable and all the guilt. But behind this childishness, the paintings overflow with eroticism, offbeat, accepted, disturbed. Vincent Ruffin is only interested in human affairs, the ordinary and the grand stories, the Judeo-Christian heritage which drives people, creates values and behaviour and ends in hypocrisy. And when he does family portraits, he paints with tenderness everything that the pictures do not show, the silence, the taboos, the hidden and secret violence. For all the family snapshots mirror each other: those that are taken during the good times and that are left in drawers, albums and attics or are framed to be hung in the living room, the office, sat on a sideboard. It is true that the family is lovely when everyone sits down together at table to eat, when glasses are emptied, filled and clinked together, with tight-lipped smiles and theatrical hugs, at parties and birthdays. Yes the family is wonderful as they leave the church, in their Sunday best, at the communion of the little ones and even at Christmas, when children pull their fathers’ beards. Yes the family looks beautiful in a photo on glossy paper. But “nothing is more dangerous to you than your family, your room, your past” wrote Gide in his book Nourritures terrestres (The Fruits of the Earth). Vincent Ruffin portrays the family as a convalescence and a place of solitude. His characters macerate in matter and a plain background spread with a knife. The background resembles a rain of sticky blades. The scene is never set, there is just a great void, a deep nothingness and paint strokes. And the portrait is trapped in a time that no longer has hours or years, a time which is forsaken. And the portrait hangs in a dark melancholy, veiled and so sweet. Vincent’s paintings are slaps and caressing gestures at the same time. We enter them as we would a story. And each story, to some extent, is our own.
An old man is sitting in a chair, his hands entwined between his thighs in refined embarrassment. His back is slightly stooped. A red scarf flows down each side of his neck. Mr Sicard was not crazy. Yet, his eyes gradually became lost. Like two stilettos which are too sharp, they cut the air and the gloomy solitude, they tear the fabric to get close, very close to us. No, Mr Sicard was not crazy.