Christophe Cartier, “Soleil couchant”, 2011. Technique mixte sur toile. 162 cm X 130 cm (left) | Christophe Cartier, “Soleil couchant”, 2011. Technique mixte sur toile. 162 cm X 130 cm (right)
Christophe Cartier – Peintures 2007-2012
Musée Paul Delouvrier
12, clos de la Cathédrale – 91000 EVRY
Dates: October 6-28, 2012
Christophe Cartier is the co-founder of the website visuelimage.com associated with the art magazine Verso.
Is there a reason to remain silent about the identity of this painter when a museum is mounting an exposition of his work? I don’t think so. It’s high time to examine the career of this painter whose twenty abstract canvases made since 2007, all done in portrait format (162 x 130 cm) and almost all untitled, will be presented at the Musée Paul Delouvrier October 6-28, 2012 (12, clos de la Cathédrale).
Christophe Cartier, “sans titre”, 2005. Encre et crayon sur papier. 101,6 cm X 64,8 cm (left) | Christophe Cartier, “sans titre”, 2008. Encre et crayon sur papier. 101,6 cm X 64,8 cm (right)
The centerpiece is the triptych Nymphéas whose title is obviously not neutral. But what intrigues Cartier about Monet is not so much his representation of aquatic flowers as the latter’s rendering, in Cartier’s terms, of “the beauty of the air”. It’s as if, in the 21st century, a painter having reached maturity and with a quarter century’s production under his belt, had decided to simply paint an immaterial reality, with no recognizable figuration (some paintings were entitled Soleil after completion, the artist never having set out to represent the sun).
This artist has succeeded in materializing the solar spectrum. We see a kaleidoscopic movement produced by superimposed layers of transparent paper between which are blots, puddles and waves of oil, the colors contained by a layer of varnish. The interplay between the strata and their transparence produce the effect of dematerialized matter. The color immersion wipes out all perspective. Like in traditional Chinese painting, top and bottom cease to exist, leaving only a single plane on which space is diluted. The painter uses mixtures of paints and varnishes on sheets of paper that are then pasted layer after layer, while preserving their transparency by means of an entirely personal technique. For Cartier, the “measure” of the depth of the aesthetic object is the depth of existence it reveals, a depth that corresponds to our own.
This painter’s masterly transparent effects and glazes achieve what Clement Greenberg probably meant by “pictorial depth” when describing the purely abstract compositions of Jackson Pollock. But there is another depth in Cartier’s work, what phenomenologists call aesthetic depth. Maurice Merleau-Ponty wrote that when faced with the aesthetic object we are neither pure consciousness in the sense of transcendental cognition nor pure gaze because this gaze is freighted by all that we are. The esthetic object belongs to us only if we belong to it. The aesthetic response that is born from Cartier’s paintings is only profound insofar as these objects touch every aspect of what makes us up. You have to take the time to become submerged in them, going beyond the immediate impression (which might prompt some people to say “it’s pretty” or “it’s decorative”) to confront the work with everything that we are, nourished by our past, this past which gives a density to our being and the power of penetration to our gaze. We begin to discover that the depth of the aesthetic object is determined not only by the properties that allow it to be defined it as such, but also by its subjective capacity as the source of a world, in this case the world of Christophe Cartier.
Catalogue authors: Estelle Pagès, Jean Luc Chalumeau
Dates: October 6-28, 2012
Friday: 2 pm-5:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 2 pm – 6 pm
Phone: 01 60 75 02 71
The museum is wheelchair-accessible / Guided group visits upon request
RER line D: direction Malherbes (when coming from Paris) – Evry-Courcouronnes station
The Cathedral and the Museum entrance are 300 meters in front of the RER exit.
Vernissage: Saturday October 6th, 2012, 3:30 pm