The fable of our places or the paradoxical imagination

by Jean-Paul Gavard-Perret

lecturer in communication at the University of Savoy.

From his native Algeria as well as from his adopted south of France, Raymond Attanasio learned about the light. This is why the clear glazes of his « spiritual abstractions » flow from it.
Its “spots” of clarity become the place where everything ends or everything begins. There will be no more answers to the question posed by those who prefer the projection of emotion, and therefore of the unspeakable, to analysis. His work represents a recommencement of pictorial language far from any desire to copy reality. Art suddenly « speaks » in the gap to see better, to see « inside » the stirs of an unconscious more inhabited by elevation, loneliness than morbid miasma. Such is at least here his begging of principle.
From an infernal machine, painting becomes a desiring machine imprinted with an almost unconscious (or visceral) metaphysics.
Work of emotion (as we have said) but also of asceticism, painting proves (without didacticism) that certain existential ailments do not heal under the effect of words (placebo) but of image. This allows you to find something else. Because the word has exhausted itself in its search for Meaning, because it has become not a dead letter, but an antechamber of death (a word already as dead by anticipation) the image – at least that of ‘Attanasio faces him, comes to his aid to take over. Because if we can no longer believe in the mystery of words, we can believe in the magic of the image. On the condition, of course, of exhausting its acquired resources in order to make it ooze otherwise within a floating but concerted « logic ».
On the support, the painting dances, it becomes alive again. In the end, an ultimate form of absorptive literality emerges, made up of dispersions, dissolutions and quasi-erasures. There remains a loss, but an active loss, wandering in a great movement of return. The work works, from its flows arises not the attraction of nothingness, but a passage through it to a beyond here. In an almost « spiritual » painting we find ourselves beyond the affects of the soul. We come back to the body, to its incompleteness even beyond sexual distinctions. No longer remains of the world simple images-reflections, but images in an abyss of meaning capable of generating not a negative but an irrefutable positive in order to bring the body back far from its only « meat » (to quote the dead of Artaud ).

Attanasio’s work opens up to the contamination of meaning by its opposite: that of negation by affirmation in a work which, far from all inflation, opens up the riskiest part that is since it takes something away from the order language, since it withdraws itself from the order of language. Hence this strange side of the imaginary where it is played out, to use a
Blanchot’s definition, « Distance to the heart of things », what is near is far, everything that is far is near. Hence this feeling of approach (impossible), of surroundings (without passages) by a painting which still shows, but not just anything: a kind of glaze in moiré and openings without limit, in knowledge, in language .
This is the strength of the work that reaches through destitution a place where a human and inhuman truth is touched at the same time, closer to oneself through the force of the painter’s emotion generated by his imagination and his technique.
Hence the strange and paradoxical community inspired by a universe from which one feels physically that the being will not be able to extricate himself. He will have to respond to this call even if it does not have an explicit answer in the painting. Attanasio indeed remains a master of the implicit in a universe as moving as it is calm. In each of his works, what the movements set aside is paradoxically brought together to see better. Something gets done, by default, by excess. The necessary exteriority (openness) of the depths arises. Leaving the obscure emerges, on the medium, an outside of the world and an echo to the intimacy of being. This is undoubtedly one of the founding principles of a work which does not, however, seek to return to a primary beatitude. Nor does it seek identification as a mere mirror. This is a paradoxical creation whose visual language retains the power to modify the approach and vision of the world, to change its « meaning » by changing the forms and modes of representation.
It is the most concrete exercise of a profession, in the sense in which Boileau understood it. The image no longer appears. And yet everything speaks in a paradoxical imagination. What could be just spots turn into lifts more than flows for visibility of the invisible. Some can find there the prolegomena to a mystic. However, if the image and things are removed from themselves, subtracted from their reference and their identity in a work that expresses without expressing, imagines without imagining, a particular homogeneity arises which links the physical to the spiritual. The image pushes towards the light, highlighting it with colored moiré.

Against the emptiness of being, each work becomes a little bit of time torn from nothingness and emptiness. The « stain » is no longer an « accident » but what preludes an accomplishment (always to be taken up) in order to grasp an elusive, to assign a paradoxical presence without anticipating a future or sealing it with a past.
The work no longer plays on a supposed return. She works in suspense. It is about not keeping aside the present, but squeezing it as closely as possible.
Surplus, the work of Attanasio therefore touches on an essentiality, a particular incorporation by this distant called to the deepest and therefore closest to being.
The irrevocability of this work is undoubtedly due to the slippage, which, through vertigo, in an instant and in the present tilts the vision towards ignoring it. The fall is then part of an accomplishment. It is not a mortal fall (or of the mortal) but its opposite: the plastic work frees from the traps of the lure of representation. She remains that « adversary » not to be confused with adversity. It is in this sense the « gay knowledge »
claimed by Nietzsche. It becomes a beach as much as a ridge. The being comes out of the fixation between the in-between and the forbidden for this other seeing: a way of seeing differently, of seeing altogether.


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