As the third instalment in a series of exhibitions entitled Fig., the exhibition of Marcel Berlanger at rodolphe janssen extends a fundamental reflection on the question of the figure in the pictorial work of Marcel Berlanger, which was initiated in 2014 at Emergent (Furnes) and continued in 2015 at ikob, the contemporary Art Museum of the German-speaking Community of Belgium (Eupen), and which will conclude in 2017 at BPS 22 (Charleroi, 2017).
The work of Marcel Berlanger, expressing an act that is at once painterly, figurative and installation and stage-oriented, unfolds in multiple dimensions, tirelessly exploring the inclusion of the figure – both its construction and deconstruction – in the space of the image. In continuance of the resonances sought between documents, boards and canvasses that were displayed in the exhibition space of the ikob, the exhibition at rodolphe janssen, in turn, focuses on how the light lies at the heart of all perception. Indeed, it is through the very vibrations and pulsations of the light that the image/document here appears in the pictorial space.
This is particularly evident in an entirely new series of portraits taken from stills of subtitled films, amongst which can be recognized, Pasolini and the duo Anna Karina and Jean Paul Belmondo in Pierrot le fou. By translating these film images – evanescent light constructions, if anything – into the vernacular of the visual language, Berlanger effectuates a series of stops, movements, erasures, oscillations, expansions, slowdowns (sounds into written sentences for example) that place the interpretation (and, through it, the issue of loss and its opposite, the gain) as central to any visual experience. In pointing, in this way, to a number of fundamental elements in the act of translation, such as the perceptual dichotomy between reading and seeing, standstill and movement, the conceptual and the pictorial, the opaque and the transparent, he sets up, in the exhibition space of the gallery, a complex interplay between the figures and their different pictorial and spatial dimensions: frescoes, paintings, collages, transparencies, etc.
In this way, both in its form as in its content, the exhibition at rodolphe janssen unveils through its set-up and the trajectory it proposes that the main challenge of Berlanger’s painting is specifically that of a language of seeing and perceiving in the tradition of Paul Cézanne, Marcel Broodthaers and Sigmar Polke.