“Olivier Nottellet’s work is haunted by a three-headed ghost which plays with the spaces he passes through (the leaf, the wall, the room). Whether he “summons at times the writer, the architect or the film-maker”, it is more often in the guise of the draughtsman than the spirit that has chosen to show itself.
His drawings are black masses which crumble, rebound, become diffracted, spread and explode. A whole grammar slightly skewed and unsteady, from which at times emerge black-headed characters encumbered by objects, precarious constructions close to collapse, empty frames piled up and disoriented. The drawings first of all inform the space of the white sheet of paper, that of notebooks, which the artist produces and makes use of as material with a view to a future adaptation: “What interests me is to use this matter; I have a cinematographic way of using it, I stroll amid my drawings as if with a camera.” Like actors in a story in the offing, whose place will be the exhibition space, the drawings migrate from the notebooks and confront the reality of the walls; they cling to changes of scale, laugh at doors and windows to provide the replica to objects which look like them and with which they may sometimes be paired. Having escaped from their two-dimensional space, they produce the dialogue of their conjugated and ephemeral presence: their appearance only lasts as long as the show. No camouflage, no effects, for Olivier Nottellet “hates the trompe-l’oeil”, and invites the viewer to observe what happens off-screen, for everything is there to see. The spectre of the film-maker, therefore, but a filmmaker who constructs films without any previous script.” […]
Excerpt from the essay by Claire Guézengar, in French Connection, Blackjack editions, 2008
Translated by Simon Pleasance, 2015.