Alain Séchas

5 Sep 2015 – 17 Oct 2015

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Is Alain Séchas writing a chapter of his life as an artist by bringing back his cat-headed beanpoles in his paintings ? (I will not make anymore abstract art ?) It may be that the paintings he is exhibiting today shed a retrospective light on his artistic watershed which began a few years ago, but one might also think that they are something else and something more than that: a personal manifesto. Therefore, here is a series of variations about couples as characters and as situations. Couples strolling or (often) at the beach who alone could embody a new genre. Séchas paints couples as others paint animals, still-lives or landscapes. He creates his paintings using their silhouettes as if they were taking hold of the surface but sometimes he starts of with a harmony of blue and yellow, then in a glimpse he draws an outline and intensifies the two with a perfectly balanced dog giving them cohesion and a certain posture (Green and Golden Yellow Dog).

Because they respond to our idea of a painting – as an object and as a common vision about art – these genre scenes have – despite their awckwardness or confusion – something reassuring. The argument boils down to very little, the scathing humor of a basic sole situation : « le vivre ensemble » (note : social skills), and the formats, leave very little space to flights of lyricism ; leading to odd situations where raging stains stand for towels blown away by the wind, where a long black stroke unlikely divides the sand, the figures and the sea (Yellow Towel), where red cat shadows get tangled in white streamers and come out as a pool of blood (Reds).

Through those falsely calm pieces, Séchas invents a new way of holding on, of demonstrating his acute awareness of the limits of the artistic expression and of his ambivalence between the artist and the citizen. Two intentions seem to be arguing over power and orientation of the piece : The choice for weakness as the driving force for creation (Nauman) or the promise for beauty for all (Koons). On one side, Promenade in Bruges where the Northern sky naturally shades off the figures, or Ocher and Blue Couple (the expression as deletion or vice versa) ; on the other side, Red Buoy evokes a Buffet chasing El Greco. Therefore the address to us strollers and bathers is constantly crossed by pure intensities, abstract lines coming out either as the corner of a towel or as an arm or as anything else. Each painting is strengthened by the fact that it belongs to a series, with its deal of monotony, but also with its discoveries and its shocks just like this orange mat that seems to be carrying a profound existential tragedy.

Séchas blurs the distinction between a metaphysical painting (these figures, stuck between interrogations and exclamations, these bicycle wheels laying on the sand, looking almost human) and an instant painting (Blue Path, Red Motorbike). Unless the ubiquitous beach was signing the end of metaphysics and the unfortunate return to Greekness. In this encounter between the ideal and the contingent, the comic force of the social chronic (still present in the blue paintings on paper) fades away in favor of a boundless search for the oceanic feeling.

Patrick Javault 





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Alain Séchas


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