Past: May 17 → June 25, 2014
“My fantasy is the calm, an empty plain, embraced by the sun, refreshed by the rain, entities as distinct as the sky, the mountain, the river.”
Vincent Beaurin’s new body of work represents a “horizon of painting,” in every sense of the phrase. Placed according to the median axis of 360°, the exhibition’s inaugural sculpture, whose metric and mechanical presence informs the exhibition as a whole, the four paintings in the main gallery space result from the artist’s patient and rigorous research.
The work consists of the realization of unique chromatic variations produced by coloured transparent glass beads articulated together. It requires the type of patience necessary to pinpoint a perfect form, neither obvious nor alien, and which our eye and body can intuit yet never fully process. Beaurin’s research allows him to exploit in depth the qualities of a support (aluminium honeycomb panels) that dictates the intensity of colours, the blur of contours, and the tactile quality of the works produced. His abstractions range from the horizon in painting (sunsets that resemble Rothkos) to the horizon of painting—that “green flash” of the pictorial sun—to which the artist has dedicated himself since the mid-1990s. The titles of the four recent pieces featured here (-60’, -10’, -15’ and -2’) relate to the minutes preceding the sun’s disappearance.
The sun is the star that rises and sets across all of Beaurin’s practice, from the overwhelming example at Cézanne’s studio, where he exhibited in 2010, to the magnetic and artificial sun at his exhibition Avant la panique at the Crédac in 2006; from his Spots of 2009-2012 to the omnipresent yellows in his early 2000’s work. Painting and sculpting according to the sun, rather than the history of painting: this is the program of a designer who became a visual artist (after contributing to the effervescence of French design for many years and training in engraving).
“I physically feel the world as being entirely made up of powders. When I open my eyes, I see a carpet of images that stack, merge and flatten. Sometimes, images suddenly shift and cause a fracture in that screen. I can then glimpse what lies behind. It is black, not the tint, which an object can distinguish itself by, more like the black of a void.”
Vincent Beaurin, 2007
Maybe there are, for an artist, two ways to pursue his or her work: by unceasingly experimenting in new ways, or by submitting his or her research to an always more precise and immanent tension. Undoubtedly, Vincent Beaurin belongs to this second category. Since the 1990s, he has never ceased to question colour(s), shape(s), pictorial tradition(s) and the means by which plastic language unfolds in space. This new exhibition bears witness to the deep rigor with which he moves forward, step by step, in his comprehension and exposure of optical and pictorial phenomena. Turning his back on the Spot’s three-dimensional virtuosity, he offers a phantasmagoria of radical research on limits.
Facing the coloured, nearly sleek surface we look at the canvas and its shape. This canonical shape has been modified so that our gaze passes readily from interior to exterior, from surface to depth of field, from woven to mineral, and from painting to sculpture, losing and recovering itself again and again. The very texture of the works plays with the ideas of frontiers and focus: their colour and appearance vary, depending on where we stand and their placement. Their succession in space elaborates a changing chromatic landscape, a sequence of infinite horizons. About his works, Beaurin writes : “They draw in like emptiness. They break of balance with the suddenness of an accident and absorb the noise through capillarity. They can frighten. They soothe.” With precision, the artist’s new series pursues its double ambition: producing a state of introspection and romantic but thoughtful openness to the world, uncertain but fertile. Under the double sign of the sun and the powdered horizon.
Rencontre avec Vincent Beaurin, Clément Dirié et Pascal Rousseau Meeting Tuesday, May 27, 2014 6:30 PM → 8 PM
Rencontre avec l’artiste Vincent Beaurin, Clément Dirié (critique et commissaire indépendant) et Pascal Rousseau (professeur d’histoire de l’art à l’Université Paris I).