Come in Number 51


“In mathematics, an equation is an equality containing one or more variables. Solving the equation consists in determining the values that the variable can have for the equality to be true. The variable is also called an unknown and the values for which the equality is verified are called solutions. Unlike an identity, an equation is an equality that is not necessarily true for all the possible values that the variable can have.”

Gilles Lachaud, “Mathématiques Mathématique - Équations”, Encyclopaedia Universalis Let’s try out something new, let’s focus on something other than their dates and places of birth, their studies, the moment of their encounter, where they live and what they eat, the distribution of tasks, the question of “how things work” between them. If necessary, we might even leave aside the issue of the images’ origins, the decisions underlying their choices. Let’s forget everything that normally reassures us, all the elements proving their good faith or intelligence, the lists of their doings that bring us closer to history but distance us from the subject – everything, in fact, that gives us the feeling of knowing, if not perceivin

In fact, let’s call them “X” – a letter that could denote the anonymous origins of their artwork and its potential rating. “X” like the variable in an equation which, for it to be an equation, must be able to include other variables. For indeed, X’s artwork would not exist without – and this is another variable – the artwork of others: the relation between the two is a simplistic and sadly contemporary citation method, but a subtle and demanding coexistence. Within this simple relation, this given equation, one can almost literally perceive X’s ambition to enter the realm of painters and the means used to do so: the means, exclusively, of painting.

Let’s look at how the colours are applied in X’s paintings, how they disappear into one another or confront one another, how they can fade away; let’s concentrate not so much on the motifs but on the way in which they are altered, how they are reconfigured, reorganized through the simple application of the paint: let’s see how all this is done, the use of flat tint and of gradation – if necessary, let’s check the “palettes” that also give rise to a painting. Let’s see how the paintings answer one another in the exhibition, how the same range of colours generates a setting sun or a conflagration, how the palette of flesh tones is also that of a landscape, and whether the fabrics really come from the same brush as the abstract forms. Let’s seek out the transparencies, the screens. Let’s look as closely as possible. Let’s record what impedes our sight. Let’s note the border of the image.

It matters little in fact where the images come from on which X’s artwork rests, and we should simply recall that X is sometimes not the author of these images. This artwork is of anonymous origin because it cares less about its copyright than about its obligations (Jean-Luc Godard: “Copyright really is nonsense. An author has no rights. I have no rights. I only have duties”.)

By what twist of mind do we believe we see in X’s artwork pornographic scenes, landscapes or abstract compositions, while this artwork urges us to view it as a painting, as a stated but provisional solution, a temporary equality? And why do we immediately perceive that many of these paintings will outlive us, we who, however, are eternal?