Painting at the blackboard
Do me a painting on the blackboard! This is the kind of order a mad teacher might give, but it's one that the painter Michel Herreria chose to obey. He took up a stick of white chalk, an ultra-simple instrument getting to grips with the ultra-sophistication of painting.
A painter needs to set himself a major obstacle which he overcomes in the course of developing his pictorial technique – revolutionary, if possible. That of Herreria began with a young kid paralysed in front of the intimidating blackboard, whose dimensions are reproduced in his paintings on paper. The matrix of these pieces would seem to be a fear of lacking questions, faced with the multiple higher-bidding universes that make up the current best of all possible worlds.
To beings of words, such as people, there is the corresponding type of painting – a contemporary, rival power of saying.
To say, otherwise, with colours that conserve their staining quality: a tendency to make splotches; the best for sullying habits. Holding forth, but in the inexpressibly melancholic language of graffiti, always ultimate. It's something like a rough and ready form of outsider art. Like a certain Philip Guston, soluble in Honoré Daumier; or equally, Francis Bacon, a surveyor of Alfred Jarry. A suitable style for displaying the veritable scale of the pathological: the off-scale.
It's a great, cruel tradition that reverts to painting, with the formidable discourse in which painting can engage; which horrifies, and reserves the joy of laughter.
Text by Hugo Lacroix
Translated by John Doherty, 2014