Thomas Fougeirol

Thomas Fougeirol


Thomas Fougeirol, Untitled, 2016. Mixed media on canvas, 116 x 89 cm.
February 10, 2016

Thomas Fougeirol

February 13–March 26, 2016

Opening: February 13, 2016, 5–8pm

5, rue des Haudriettes
75003 Paris

Thomas Fougeirol’s playground is the surface of the painting and, having many years ago rid himself of the painter’s traditional tools, he envisages the act of painting and his contact with the canvas through the intermediary of imprints using pieces of fabrics and metal grids, etc. In this way, painting has become a field of research in which there are no preparatory stages; with each new experiment (and there are many), the gesture becomes better attuned and more precise, with the inevitable consequence of a substantial production of canvasses before arriving at the right balance between the gesture and the result he is hoping for.

Thomas Fougeirol therefore envisages a painting as the space that both records and displays the traces of his creative process. His latest series of works is no exception: they summarize his practice to date and take it in a new direction. After creating imprinting gestures that also remove and tear away material, he replaces what has been removed with a surplus of new material made up of waste or things lying around in his studio i.e. downgraded materials (dust, cut-out pieces of canvas, bits of glass, fragments of colored paper…). These elements are incorporated into the painting where they are held captive within a dense layer of paint.

Each of the artists (some well-known, others less so) applies his/her own artistic vocabulary and color aesthetics in a subjective or objective personal journey into the world of shades. Is what we perceive not an illusion, a resonance, an emotional light that the artist endeavors to explore? “We do not create light, we portrait it,” said Cézanne. White is a demanding color. It reflects the light that all the other filter, dispersing it by refraction so the other colors can delight us. White sheds light on art itself; Malevich, Opalka, Lewitt, Newman, Twombly, Ryman, Reinhardt, Manzoni, Kelly and many others brilliantly made use of this color. White symbolises the unity that precedes diversity, rites of passage, balance, grace and a moment frozen in time just before disappearance, obliteration, renunciation, abdication and bereavement.

This production, which is deliberately unattractive from a formal point of view, is part and parcel of the artist’s reflection on the misshapen in which the notions of relegation, disorder, horizontality and base materialism are at work.

Comparable from an aesthetic point of view to the walls (or floor) of the studio, these paintings are like the resurgence of a de-structured pictural narrative. But what is the most surprising in this new series is the dialectic between what is tactile and what is visible, which establishes an extraordinary narrow gap between the two, something that was already implied in Fougeirol’s rain paintings (tableaux de pluie, 2011), which resembled fragmented sections of the surface of the moon.

Seen from a distance, the canvasses seem to be photographic, or even proto-photographic experiments, images of materials or views of the ground. They have lost their materiality, which is replaced by a flatness that contradicts any notion of texturology. Seen from a close-up however, they reveal the rich diversity of their structure and lay bare the traces of the process by which they were made. This perceptive duality surprises, rather like a mental trompe l’oeil it reminds us that: “the essence of painting does not only lie in pleasing the eye, but also in deceiving it” (Roger de Piles).

–Valérie Da Costa

Valérie Da Costa is an art historian and an art critic. She was in charge of the section Visual Arts in the magazine Mouvement from 2007 to 2014, she curated the Vidéodanse program on the occasion of the Nouveau Festival at the Centre Pompidou, Paris in 2014 and 2015. She wrote many essays including Ecrits de Lucio Fontana (Ed. Les Presses du Réel, 2013) or Pino Pascali : retour à la Méditerranée (Ed. Les Presses du Réel, 2015).

For all inquiries please contact Clémence Duchon: clemence [​at​] or +33 1 45 86 20 00

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February 10, 2016

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