At the age of 11, I stole my mother's engagement ring to give it to a girl my age I was in love with. After, I began reflecting on symbolic values and symbols without value.
The invented writing which appears in a series of adhesive tape paintings stems from this feeling of the lack of meaning. Linear forms to be considered in and of themselves, this imaginary writing without signifier is like the memory of a speech whose goal is not communication, but on the contrary, the preservation of the uncommunicable.
This writing is a figure for Wittgenstein's intuition on the existence of an unformulatable reality, and remains true to his esthetic which he pronounces the following way: "That which can be shown can't be told".
The fictitious sentences bolt by wagonloads of words and farandoles of smoking figurines which are emitters sometimes possessing the ability to speak when fitted with comic-strip bubbles, themselves containing a similar writing, as if it were possible for words to express something other than the meaning they're already permitted to signify.
The nonsense of a word that speaks suggests a painting that reflects upon itself
while in the making ; painting performs its own critique, launches a discourse on itself through a detour in a writing which attempts to define something irreducible to language.
As a result of touching works in museums, I was able to assess that all the paintings were dry. I thus deduced that the paintings were made with dry paint.I therefore began drying bits of paint beforehand. I found myself with pieces of paint piled to make paintings.
If I've the pretention, after having taken on the sufficiency of dicourse, to try to represent the unrepresentable of representation, it has nothing to do with the sublime even if it's still a matter of the beautiful to be painted, but to represent painting itself, according to a certain very general notion of painting.
Starting with a detail already there, a piece of dried paint or abit of tape, I attempt to approach my mental representation of painting. When we hear tree, stone, locomotive, something appears in the form of an image, a mental vision comes to mind. But what do we see when we hear the word painting?
It seems to me that this question is at the root of my work. It is most often this mental vision of the idea of painting that I try to paint; it contains a part of the unrepresentable which results from the very functioning of my work, from the workings of its mechanism. I wish to provide an image of this mental representation of painting, this general idea which provides food for thought but which will always remain something to be seen.
To dry the paint, I let it flow in puddles on plastic bags offered by supermarkets and groceries. The dots or patterns of the bags transferred onto the paint can suggest ornamental patterns. The ornamental is a commentary on the content or the structure of the work. When content is absent, one is propelled into the decorative which marks the subject's vacancy. Thus, as an example, the slogan for GPI adhesive tapes is "repare, decorate". Submitting myself to this slogan, it occured to me to repare a collage with a piece of yellow tape. It is because the color helped hold what threatened to fall that functionality appeared in the form of a touch.
This gesture initiated a long series of paintings made entirely of scotch, without canvas or paint. The flashy quality of plastic materials interested me ; the materiological substitution which had taken place suggested a counterfeit to me.
I obtained objects with a homey feel from abstract paintings, and what comprised the work always derived from the principle of its making. I then attempted to elaborate a pictorial vocabulary from this material, which recently brought me to painting computer screens. Through their suggestion of pixelization. the tiny squares of tape and the matrix they make up renders the screen subject plausible and believable,
In addition, the real possibility of opening or closing windows within the computer page by clicking on icons, here suggested in the painting, suggests the Albertien window and the long lineage of windows represented in the paintings, Flemish for example, from the Master of Flémalle to Vermeer.
The gesture I affirm and repeat with adhesive material lies somewhere between masturbation and assembly line work.
Ephemeral series in which I intervene directly on the wall with tape has this gesture give rise to paintings which become confused with their very function.
This gesture contains the marching of my feet and the thinking in my head which occur simultaneously the length of a walk hugging the wall, while my hands cut and paste little bits of scotch in a very regular way.
It's while thinking of infinity, which is but an instant in such a minute fraction , that I lay these small squares of color, overlapping layers, playing with the rhythms of the incommensurable depths of the painting still to come, backtracking. The future painting, handmade by a repetitive gesture of marching feet, can in no way help me bridge the gap that separates me from eternity, but almost.
Marc Chevalier, 1998