2022 / The contemplations II
Paintings on wood and marble
A sensitivity to the ontological energies of materials is demonstrated in the thirteen new paintings from the series The Contemplations, inspired by Victor Hugo’s collection of poems by the same name that experimented with the idea of an autobiography in verse, drawn from the author’s memory and quotidian experiences.
The pictorial abstractions are meticulously composed of inlaid wood and sourced scraps of marble that brim with the subtle tension of contrasting temporalities and temperatures inherent to these ancient materials. The washes of pigment that tint the wood indicate the accretive character of memory, with each new experience or passing moment coloring the ones before it.
The depicted images are extracted from a wide range of art historical sources and techniques, from traditional Japanese prints to Félix Vallotton, with varying degrees of legibility. On the whole, The Contemplations can be seen as units of an oneiric time, in which disparate geographies, eras, cultures and tempos have been suspended, or flattened into one plane, as though in a dream.
Memory is an important dimension in this series. First, there is this idea of fragmented elements that I am associating, intermingling to create a dialogue between different works and time periods in the history of art. In a way, this series is an essay on memory, a representation of what memory is as well as a work of memory. — Laurent Pernot