Unavoidable Pierre SOULAGES

Pierre Soulage's mysterious abstract black paining with white line

To celebrate the ?th anniversary of his birth in Rodez, three major exhibitions were organized in France at the beginning of the year. The specialized press rightly celebrated the success of his worldwide career. Master of abstraction and "outrenoir", Pierre Soulages caused a shock wave in intellectual and multidisciplinary circles in the 1960s. In his work, do not look for a message, nor representation; he puts us in front of the movement of his black painting.

Obviously, each one of us feels rather positive or negative emotions but for sure, very strong.

After the Louvre and Rodez, the event in Nice

The Alpes Maritimes Departmental Council presented a free exhibition of Pierre Soulages from February 8 to April 19, 2020. Interrupted in the middle of a success story last Sunday, the health crisis of Covid-19 forces us to change our behavior. The exhibition had gathered 16 000 visitors in only 5 weeks, according to the article published in Nice Matin. The people of Nice, including myself, were eager to discover this master of contemporary painting on the French Riviera.

In a refurbished building, the former prison renamed "Lympia Gallery", is the perfect place to exhibit the essence of his work. The Lympia port is located in the heart of several historical monuments dating back to the foundation of the city Nikkaia by the Greeks. The many captivated visitors seemed very quiet as if they were in a sacred place.

All the conditions were met to live the Experience, as we say now in marketing, in front of the 72 original works painted and engraved by the artist between 1946 and 2008.

"The creative power of Pierre Soulages

The selection of works made by the curator of the exhibition, Gérard BOSIO, has been narrowed down to each representative period, which is perfect in terms of pedagogy to understand the stages of his creation.

This new painting is described as "mysterious beauty". His deliberate choice to study reflected light on black surfaces can be confusing. He uses house painter's materials such as walnut stain used to cover wood, large brushes.

But each work gives us to reflect on ourselves. What do we see in ourselves? How do these black surfaces resonate in our imagination?

Curiously, one is never bored. He makes "Body to body", fights with the matter by playing on more or less thickness, various types of traces, the effects of the light...

New sensations

At the beginning I admit to having been destabilized, that's why I felt a certain "uneasiness" in front of this conception of the dark of the void or of I don't know what. Was it a form of representation of the black hole of the universe? or of nothingness? of infinity?

In short, "philosophical" notions have invaded my brain in spite of myself, I came first to be entertained and here I am confronted with the meaning of my life!

Then, this certainly unexpected interior upheaval, I know now that I owe it to this exhibition forever engraved in my mind and my heart.

My favorite painting is pictured here, entitled "Painting, 160×114 cm, 9.11.2008". This work made me realize that I needed to visualize even a tiny perspective. In all this black, these fine horizontal white interstices appear to me as a hope. These interstices let me imagine that another world is possible.

Although virtual visits are now being considered, nothing beats experimenting with the work because the dimensions and shapes can change our perception. In particular, this copper plate with its acid holes, presented as a stele!

Here we are back to the eternal theme of Art and the sacred.

Let's pray that we can go back together.