Les Propos sur la Peinture du Moine Citrouille-Amère

L’UNIQUE TRAIT DE PINCEAU

Dans la plus haute Antiquité, il n’y avait pas de règles ; la Suprême simplicité ne s’était pas encore divisée.

Dès que la Suprême Simplicité se divise, la règle s’établit.

Sur quoi se fond la règle ? La règle se fond sur l’Unique Trait de Pinceau.

L’Unique Trait de Pinceau est à l’origine de toutes choses, la racine de tous les phénomènes ; sa fonction est manifeste pour l’esprit, et cachée en l’homme, mais le vulgaire l’ignore.

C’est par soi-même que l’on doit établir la règle de l’Unique Trait de Pinceau.

Le fondement de la règle de l’Unique Trait de Pinceau réside dans l’absence de règles qui engendre la Règle ; et la Règle ainsi obtenue embrasse la multiplicité des règles.

La peinture émane de l’intellect : qu’il s’agisse de la beauté des monts, des fleuves, personnages et choses, ou qu’il s’agisse de l’essence et du caractère des oiseaux, des bêtes, des herbes et des arbres, ou qu’il s’agisse des mesures et proportions des viviers, des papillons, des édifices et des esplanades, on n’en pourra pénétrer les raisons ni épuiser les aspects variés, si en fin de compte on ne possède cette mesure immense de l’Unique Trait de Pinceau.

Si loin que vous alliez, si haut que vous montiez, il vous faut commencer par un simple pas. Aussi, l’Unique Trait de Pinceau embrasse t-il tout, jusqu’au lointain le plus inaccessible et sur dix milles et sur dix millions de coups de pinceau, il n’en est pas un dont le commencement et l’achèvement ne résident finalement dans cet Unique Trait de Pinceau dont le contrôle n’appartient qu’à l’homme.

Par le moyen de l’Unique Trait de Pinceau, l’homme peut restituer en miniature une entité plus grande sans rien en perdre : du moment que l’esprit s’en forme d’abord une vision claire, le pinceau ira jusqu’à la racine des choses.

Si l’on ne peint d’un poignet libre, des fautes de peintures s’ensuivront ; et ces fautes à leur tour feront perdre au poignet son aisance inspirée. Les virages du pinceau doivent être enlevés d’un mouvement, et l’onctuosité doit naître des mouvements circulaires, tout en ménageant une marge pour l’espace. Les finales du pinceau doivent être tranchées, et les attaques incisives. Il faut être également habiles aux formes circulaires ou angulaires, droites et courbes, ascendantes et descendantes ; le pinceau va à gauche, à droite, en relief, en creux, brusque et résolu, il s’interrompt abruptement, il s’allonge en oblique, tantôt comme de l’eau, il dévale vers les profondeurs, tantôt il jaillit en hauteur comme la flamme, et tout cela avec naturel et sans forcer le moins du monde.

Que l’esprit soit présent partout, et la règle informera tout ; que la raison pénètre partout, et les aspects les plus variés pourront être exprimés. S’abandonnant au gré de la main, d’un geste, on saisira l’apparence formelle aussi bien que l’élan intérieur des monts et des fleuves, des personnages et des objets inanimés, des oiseaux et des bêtes, des herbes et des arbres, des viviers et des papillons, des bâtiments et des esplanades, on les peindra d’après nature ou l’on en sondera la signification, on en exprimera le caractère ou l’on en reproduira l’atmosphère, on les révélera dans leur totalité ou on les suggérera elliptiquement.

Quand bien même l’homme n’en saisirait pas l’accomplissement, pareille peinture répondra aux exigences de l’esprit.

Car la Suprême Simplicité s’est dissociée, aussi la Règle de l’Unique Trait de Pinceau s’est établie. Cette règle de l’Unique Trait de Pinceau une fois établie, l’infinité des créatures s’est manifestée. C’est pourquoi il a été dit : « Ma voie est celle de l’Unité qui embrasse l’Universel ».

Publicités

Gestes préhistoriques et contemporains – exposition d’avril à août

A l’occasion du cinquantenaire de la découverte de dessins dans les grottes de Roucadour et avec le concours de Jean-Paul Coussy, la Galerie présente, en regard de quelques relevés de ces dessins, des oeuvres de Gilles Aillaud, Joseph Beuys, Jean Fautrier, Pierre Tal-Coat, Pierrette Bloch, Joan Mitchell, John Cage, Otto Wols, Claudio Parmiggiani et Henri Michaux.

Pendant cette période, on notera les concerts de Baptiste Boiron et Médéric Collignon  le dimanche 21 avril à 18h30 ainsi qu’un concert de Noémi Boutin le dimanche 26 mai (Les âges de l’Homme, avec des œuvres de Bach et Scelsi)

A l’occasion de l’exposition, projections du film de Herzog, La grotte des rêves perdus et d’un portrait de Gilles Aillaud réalisé par Bernard Michel.

Table ronde avec François Jeune, Jean-Paul Jouary et Jean-Paul Coussy le 2 juin.

Dimanche 2 juin à 18h30 – Rencontre Gestes Préhistoriques et contemporains

Autour d’un dialogue entre Jean Paul Jouary, philosophe, auteur de « Préhistoire de la beauté Quand l’art créa l’homme » 2012

et François Jeune, peintre, professeur à l’Université Paris 8, auteur de « Tal Coat et la préhistoire  » domaine de Kerguehennec 2013

Avec Jean Paul Coussy inventeur de la grotte de Roucadour

Pourquoi cette exposition rapprochant art préhistorique et art d’aujourd’hui? Peut-être, comme le dit Jean Paul Jouary, parce qu’art de l’après-histoire et art de la préhistoire sont nos deux arts les plus contemporains, celui de la préhistoire étant à la fois le plus ancien et le plus récemment découvert et révélé.

Et comment cet art si ancien et si proche se reporte-il dans nos perceptions et pratiques ? Convergences retrouvées une fois l’œuvre finie ou résurgences inconscientes pendant l’instauration de l’œuvre ? Sommes nous, face au dessin pariétal sous le coup de nouvelles influences ? L’hypothèse de François Jeune tend plutôt à y voir un jaillissement originaire qui serait le propre du geste artistique.

C’est ce que laisse aussi penser la mise en regard d’œuvres issues de temps si éloignés. Le dialogue interrogera des œuvres éclairantes sous ce rapport : Elaine de Kooning et Parmiggiani, Picasso et Joan Mitchell, ou A Penck et Tal Coat et les relevés des dessins de Roucadour.

Entrée libre

Henning Lohner by himself

 

« The Empress of Forgotten Time »

The idea for our Video Pictures arose from our love for video photography and from our subsequent despair over the loss of these images when turning them into a film.

What we call the « Video Picture » is a displayable motion image that bridges the recognizable gap between photography and narrative film.

Simply put, a photograph is a single suspended sliver of time; a film is an edited narrative. In between these two temporal extremes exists the « extended photo » or what we call the film « take », which is a recorded moving image that constitutes the raw material of the film.

For all intents and purposes the individual images that render the visual language of a narrative film or a televion show pass by. The average length of an image on television is three seconds, in feature film usually even less – before it is substituted by the next one.

So, the raw material of a television or film document always serves another purpose, that of the narrative or whatever flow of meaning it has been shortened – edited – into. This raw material never has value of its own.

Our Video Pictures arose from the desire to actually see and linger with the individual images, to pay attention to them for their own sake, to allow them to unfold their own intrinsic beauty by letting them stand alone.

In freeing the individual images from the context of a value judgement induced by edited film, it is our desire to attract new value to them – value without judgement.

Our Video Pictures don´t mean anything specific. They are not put to use, they are simply shown.

Television´s prerogative is to commission shows that are normally based on preconceived ideas or themes which in turn need to exist within very confined contextual and technological boundaries. In this respect television, whether public or commercial, succumbs to fairly rigid rules that don´t allow experiments, coincidents, or individual initiative. Anything more adventurous is more or less cynically left up to the wild-life documentarians and the crazy people from art school (who have no access to broadcasting, so they are useless anyway).

The craft of the television film maker is directed towards achieving a broadcast product as quickly as possible. It is like informational « fast food ».

In order to understand the nascence of our Video Pictures one needs to know that in television production it is unthinkable to record images without dialog or music for very much longer than ten seconds. This is the approximate time ratio generally considered sufficient to give the editor enough space for cutting the shot or angle desired into the film assembly.

Everything in film production is aimed at keeping this shooting ratio, as we call it, as low as possible, for the simple reason of saving time and money. Furthermore, no matter how much raw material is shot and minimized into the film product, it is destroyed immediately after broadcast since the broadcaster doesn´t see any reason to store or save it.

Thus, countless documents are lost forever. Within such a television climate any idea that a film document or the image itself could contain emotional significance is thoroughly wasted.

When Van and I first met we immediately discovered – equally as film makers and film viewers – our mutual love for these lost images, these pictures that always pass.

Coincidentally, that same year Van and I met, in 1989, the advent of professional broadcast video tape (Betacam Sp) allowed shooting continuous images of up to 35 minutes in length without interruption, and this was not previously possible either with film stock (too costly), or with prior video formats (too poor in quality).

However, the creative possibilities of this crucial detail of modern video technology remained a mystery to the broadcasters. No television channel would ever show a single continuous image of 35 minutes length – but to us that possibility was the gateway to a new and fascinating universe of imagery.

Almost immediately, Van and I began recording images of extended duration, knowing that only a sliver of these images would be used for the resulting tv shows we had been commissioned for. These were the images we wanted to see more of.

Paradoxically, in taking advantage of high qualilty, professional television production within the demands of television we could see these lovely moments that weren´t meant for anything, and inadvertently we began producing waste for our own enjoyment.

Creating waste on purpose is our revenge on the system because it is our belief that the only way to affect change is from within the system itself.

Simply enough, breaking the time barrier of precious film stock suddenly allowed space for random events to manifest themselves for us film makers. Within the frame of the locked-down video camera, over time, they sometimes could be caught. Little random everyday events that we normally don´t pay much attention to.

In one way, we are finding chance. For instance, thanks to professional video tape it is possible to leave the camera on before and after interviews so as to catch little trifles. Or, when on the road, paying attention to forgotten landscapes; places and spaces that one would otherwise easily drive past, as they lay on the roadside of touristic exploration.

As for the choices of our Video Picture images: we surf the waves of popular culture. We have travelled the world; we´ve taken the camera to Japan and Hong Kong, accross the United States, Latin America, and to nearly every country in Europe.

We go where everybody goes – or potentially can go. We don´t go to war zones or to distant, uninhabited places where we could likely die before getting back home. We visit places that are, in some way, familiar and accessible to everyone. That´s exciting and sensationalist enough for us. It is also, in a way, a prerequisite for discovering the interesting within the obvious, uncovering delightful aspects in the ongoing rhythm of the everyday.

Over the past 20 years we have collected more than 1000 hours of video footage (and we expect to do the same for at least the next 20 years). The extracted Video Pictures from this raw material are the result of questioning, over the years, whether these images still resonate with us, whether they retain the ability to continuously fascinate us. In reliving these pictures we are looking for an ongoing emotion. And, we worry about them again and again.

Our Video Pictures result from the simple desire to show something beautiful, something interesting and hopefully elegant, a picture worth looking at.

Van and I began our Video Pictures for our own enjoyment; and although we always wanted to do something with them, it was due to the help of others that they can now be seen. To those, we send our gratitude.

Henning Lohner New York, NY 22.01.2009

sur la suite « variations » de Cage

In 1988 and 1989 John Cage delivered the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University, and the accompanying book (Harvard University Press) describes Cage in this way: “Without doubt the most in influential American composer of the last half century, John Cage has had an enormous impact not only on music but on art, literature, the performing arts, and aesthetic thought in general. His insistent exploration of ‘nonintention’ and his fruitful merging of Western and Eastern traditions have made him a powerful force in the world of the avant-garde.” Cage was born in Los Angeles in 1912 and died in New York City in 1992, less than a month before his eightieth birthday.

After graduating from Los Angeles High School, Cage spent two years at Pomona College, then six months traveling in Europe writing poetry and painting. Back in Los Angeles in the Depression years, he went door to door offering lectures on art and music to support his study of music composition. In 1934–36 he studied with composer Arnold Schoenberg, who persuaded him to give up painting in favor of music. Cage moved to New York City in 1942 and a year later presented a concert of percussion music at the Museum of Modern Art. He delivered the famous “Lecture on Nothing” in 1950 at the Artist’s Club, which was frequented by abstract expressionists. He was friendly with dancer Merce Cunningham and artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, and the work of each of the four was influenced by the others.

In 1951 Cage began composing music based on chance operations using the I Ching (Chinese Book of Changes) and in 1952 presented his most famous music composition, 4’33”, in which the performer sits quietly for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. The music heard by the audience consisted solely of ambient sound. Beginning in 1964, when the New York Philharmonic performed his Atlas Eclipticalis, Cage’s music works have been performed by great orchestras around the world. Beginning in 1961, when Wesleyan University Press released his Silence, an anthology of lectures and poetry, his writings have been published and republished.

Cage’s body of work in visual art consists mainly of works on paper. At Crown Point Press, he created etchings and monotypes over a period of fifteen years beginning in 1978. Starting in 1983, he made drawings on paper, and in two sessions at the Mountain Lake Workshop in Virginia, in 1988 and 1990, he produced watercolors, some very large. He also worked in lithography and with handmade paper, and designed several complex room-sized exhibitions, one for the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh in 1991. A 1992 survey of his visual art was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and solo shows have been at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco (2000), the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC (1987), the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (1982), and the Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany (1978), among many other museums. His prints, drawings, and watercolors are in the collections of major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Frankfurter Kunstverein in Frankfurt, Germany. His visual art is represented by the Margarete Roeder Gallery in New York.

-Kathan Brown, Crown Point Press

 

Variations III No. 8,

1992

Alan Smith, fugitive archives, by Joyce Cheng

Fugitive Archives                       Alan Smith

In Alan Smith’s work, the tension between image and presence is a constant theme. Both in his painting and drawing, the image emerges only as the result of an intense negotiation with the medium. The small format in which he works almost exclusively is as intimate as it is impersonal. The work is close at hand, tactile like a Byzantine icon, but it also distances by virtue of its opacity. Unlike a window, a mirror or a digital screen, it cannot be uncomfortably looked into.

In Fugitive Archives, drawing becomes a way of exploring how things come to be both stripped (dépouillés) and intensified by memory. As in Seurat’s sketches in conte-crayon, one glimpses not things but their incidental profiles and spectral contours. But perhaps more like Bonnard, who had insisted on painting from memory, Alan Smith depicts objects as carriers of what has yet to become significant for remembrance. The bowl is not a souvenir (how could specific memories be evoked by something that has given up particular qualities of its own?) Instead it is a kind of silent witness, an inert receptacle for attention directed elsewhere. A peripheral object, the bowl lurks in the margin of perception like an apparition. But it also makes itself seen by its edge, that immaterial parabola hovering above the head of the saint in a Quattrocento painting, marking the threshold between reality and imagination.

It is difficult to speak of style or effect when looking at the work of Alan Smith, where traces of manner or personal touch are rigorously concealed by the tightness of the surface and the constriction of the support. Yet there is nothing mechanical about the reprise of the square format and the recurrence of what seems to be the same object (is it?) The seriality rather captures the essence of recollection: it is often as much about rehearsal as it is about revision.

Joyce Cheng

Bertrand Henry et Alan Smith, du 24 juin au 15 septembre 2012

Bertrand Henry & Alan Smith

Archives fugitives, du 24 juin au 15 septembre 2012

La galerie présente un choix d’œuvres sur papier (encres de chine et crayons) de ces deux artistes, qui cherchent tous deux à maintenir le contour des objets persistants : étendue des paysages occupés ou vides, tasses, arbres… Le sujet n’est pas donné par le modèle mais par la permanence de la chose intérieure, qui réintègre son état d’abstraction.

« Bertrand Henry peint à l’encre de chine (et souvent au stylo à bille) des portraits et des paysages de très petit format. Graveur, il s’est signalé en 1998 à la faveur d’Adret, eau-forte et aquatinte offrant en neuf plaques le vaste versant d’une montagne. Il ramène le regard à la notion de site suscité par une poétique qui mêle la vision imaginaire au plastique car il ne s’agit pas de reportage, mais d’une idée de paysage, d’un « rapport à la mémoire ». Face au massif de frondaisons en pente qui joue ici avec le ciel, on peut certes penser au Lorrain, à Rousseau, Wacquez et à l’Ecole de Barbizon. Mais il faut surtout pénétrer le feuillage comme un réseau d’effets visuels qui dans le mouvement du proche-lointain ouvrent à un paysage de lecture abstrait, impliquant une notion presque conceptuelle. Comme les Chinois du XVIIe siècle Bertrand Henry cherche sur le cuivre une « manière de redessiner un coup de pinceau », de quêter les divers poids, les inflexions de la couleur dans le(s) noir(s). Il fait écho à Shitao, le moine Citrouille-amère, qui postulait que la « beauté formelle du paysage se réalise par la possession des techniques du pinceau et de l’encre. » (Rainer Michael Mason)

stylo à bille sur papier bible

Alan Smith fait des images qui dérivent de l’observation des menus détails de la vie quotidienne. « Toujours j’utilise ma mémoire, pas l’observation directe, et simplement le crayon. Je m’intéresse aux objets et aux images oubliés et jetés; tellement familiers qu’ils deviennent invisibles. Je crois qu’il est possible de prendre ces images à la marge de notre vue et, en les mettant au point nouveau, de leur rendre un sens plein. » (Propos de l’artiste)

traces serie n°4

 

Bertrand Henry & Alan Smith, 24th June to 15th September 2012

Fugitive archives (Archives fugitives)

 

The gallery presents a selection of works on paper (India ink and pencil) from two artists who both seek to apprehend the contours of enduring objects: an expanse of landscape, bowls, trees . . . Their subject lies not in the outside appearance of objects but in their essence – the permanence of their interior. In this way the object is returned to its abstract state.

“Bertrand Henry creates portraits and landscapes in very small format in India ink (and often in ballpoint pen). A printmaker, he made a name for himself in 1998, thanks to Adret, an aquatint etching in nine plates depicting a vast mountainside. He redirects our gaze to a concept of place based on a poetic mix of imaginative vision and concrete reality. His concern is not reportage but in conveying an idea of landscape, ‘linked to memory’.

Faced with sloping banks of foliage in interplay with the sky, one might certainly think of Lorrain, Rousseau, Wacquez and the Barbizon school. But it’s important to see beyond the lattice of visual effects presented by the leaves which, in a play of near and far, reveal a landscape to be read more abstractly, implying a conceptual notion of itself. Like the 17th century Chinese, Bertrand Henry seeks, on copper, ‘a way of redrawing the brushstroke’, of finessing the different weights and nuances of colour in blacks. One is reminded of Shitao, the Bitter Gourd Monk, who postulated that the ‘formal beauty of landscape is achieved by mastery of the techniques of brush and ink.’”

(Rainer Michael Mason)

Alan Smith creates drawings which derive from intense observation of minute details of everyday life.  “I work always from memory, not direct observation, using simply a pencil and eraser.  I’m fascinated by objects and images which have been forgotten or overlooked; so familiar that they become invisible. I believe it’s possible to take these images, hovering at the edge of our vision and, by imbuing them with fresh meaning, to reveal their emotional charge.“

(Artist’s statement)