Contemporary French Art 2

Gérard Garouste, Colette Deblé, Georges Rousse, Geneviève Asse, Martial Raysse, Christian Jaccard, Joël Kermarrec, Danièle Perronne, Daniel Dezeuze, Philippe Favier, Daniel Nadaud: after the 11 essays of Contemporary French artwork 1, dedicated to significant artists from Ben Vautier and Niki de Saint Phalle to Annette Messager and Gérard Titus-Carmel, the current quantity pursues its interrogations of the what, the how and the why of latest plastic construction of a few of France's most interesting practitioners. If, as ever, such construction can show components of an interweaving of individualized preoccupations and modes, never-ending specificities demarcate and verify originalities that natural thought and its leveling anonymity may well imprecise. therefore is it that Gérard Garouste is on my own in that obsession with 'indianness' and 'classicalness'; that Colette Deblé's gesture is drawn implacably to the unseenness of girl illustration; that Georges Rousse plunges images into the area of matter's poetic sacredness; that Geneviève Asse traverses a natural seemingness of abstraction to achieve to an intimacy of silence; that Martial Raysse's 'hygiene of vision' may possibly eternally renew and hybridize itself. Christian Jaccard, too, will discover with area of expertise an artwork of materiality on the frontier of metaphysics; Joël Kermarrec will provide us the inimitable beautiful lines of surging wish and deception; Danièle Perronne's bins and stringings, her work and her sheetings will spread a psychic infinity on the center of shape. And, if Daniel Dezeuze seeks namelessness and natural structuration, the latter but surge forth through works that relentlessly determine a gesture so far away, we may perhaps suppose, from the instantly sobering and ceremonial microproliferations of a Philippe Favier or the demanding yet genial articulations of Daniel Nadaud's sculptural mind's eye.

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We are far – let us consider some contemporary women artists initially – from the bullet-riddled beginnings of Niki de Saint Phalle’s work, far too from her early oils on plywood such as Scorpion and Stag crammed with tiny objects, fragments of china and coffee beans, perhaps in sympathy with the great Nanas that will emerge, even though, in pure plastic terms, the latter do not coincide with Deblé’s delicate washes, acrylics and use of coloured pigments. We are, of course, no less far from the constituent matter and modes of plastic fabrication manifest in Louise Bourgeois’ or Annette Messager’s work, despite their penchant for drawing: no plaster or marble limbs, no vast installations wrapping the viewer round in the teeming, suffo-cating clutter of endless glass, stone, metal or cloth objects, found or hand-crafted.

In this, her work is a highly diversified homage to other artists and the infinite range of doing and seeing art’s history has unfolded; 3. such a homage, however, seeks to show, by virtue of what Deblé now omits and downplays of the original, something of the implicit nature(s) of the male gaze focussed down the ages on female presence; 4. in this appropriative relation of seer to seen, the plastic passiveness of the model dovetails seamlessly with the domination of the artist’s perception and projection; 5.

In Deblé’s work the latter effects fall away, are voided: we are no longer concerned with male imagination, its pleasures and indulgences channelled though they so often have been through matching and innovative rigorous aesthetic discipline; 6. Deblé thus evokes the gap between subject-artist and object-model, a gap we may not see in the original, which art’s perfect closing in upon itself, its own definitiveness, its seeming absoluteness, inevitably occults; 7. the ‘visual analysis’ we have heard Colette Deblé speak of, thus sets up a trembling, shimmering between-space, one of erasure, absence, and creation, new presence; 8.

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