Everything starts from a story set by Pliny the Elder, that famous pictorial duel that opposed Zeuxis to Parrhasios in order to determine which had reached the highest degree of perfection in the art of imitation. Zeuxis delivered a cup of fruit, some pears and some grapes that made such a good illusion that a bird came to peck at him. The victory was, however, given to Parrhasios for having represented a curtain of such realism that his rival himself was mistaken, urging him to reveal his realization when he had it right in front of him. The height of the pretense: the perfectly naturalistic rendering turned out to be a screen, preventing one from seeing the painted work. It is from this disturbance that the recent works of David Porchy proceed.
David Porchy is visibly implementing the precision business that mimesis requires. His graphic compositions are particularly detailed, and accurately record the smallest ruffles that animate the tissues depicted. A way of detail that would hold verism. Above all, he chooses to complicate matters further by sometimes taking models of striped or rich floral motifs - one, in particular, bordered by a geometrical frieze whose interweaving of broken lines comes, moreover, to curvature. to restore the ripples of the textile. The very particular style of these drawings accentuates the illusionism. No circles underline the modeling. The shadows, the sensation of relief are translated by a very pictorial process, wide ranges of tones patiently assembled in successive layers. David Porchy works with colored pencils, with a gesture just perceptible enough to come to stretch the solids or bend the gradients.And this way in restraint allows him to bring closer to the different textures, fluidity or weight drapes.
Nevertheless, David Porchy does not aim at the scrupulous representation of the visible world. On the contrary, it plays on the contrast between the fascination exerted by figurative rendering and the process of shaping by fold, which summons up this singular spatialization proper to collage and editing. Crumpled, creased, gathered, the surface of the fabric is formally reorganized. Reconfigured. This is all the more obvious when it comes to patterned draperies: some parts make surfaces, ensuring the legibility of a portion of the print, while others are hidden - this process brings out certain details to the detriment of others, Freud calls it "displacement". Even more: in the folds and folds, previously scattered fragments now come into contact and generate a new image, open to interpretation - this form of association which causes a whole play of sliding between the signifiers, Freud calls it "condensation". In David Porchy's work, the fold is less a motive than an intention. A gesture that upsets the topography of the drawing. Drawing ultimately far from the simulacrum from which he borrows the codes, since he uses the resemblance to reveal the deformation of the representation.
And the photographic proposals confirm. First these two large immersive formats. Although they are index images, cut directly in the world, the pregnance of these vast expanses of solid colors is not without reminding other colorfields: because in spite of the very graphic demarcations of the folds the imposing surface colored, full frame, uninterrupted, accuses in a certain way the flatness of its support. Perhaps it is also a question of hue - this blue, this green so close to those of the backgrounds. Ersatz evoking the material surface of the encased canvas or potential virtual reception area ... Here again, the drape says its condition of substitute. By working on this theme David Porchy is constantly proposing images that dereal reality. Until this conclusion, in these small formats on dibond, three shots of different states of a white canvas: one shows the edge of the fabric that suddenly rebique, leaving a puncture in the middle of a crumpled mass. We were waiting for the opening, but the breach reveals only a black, unfathomable solid color, by which David Porchy delivers us this reading of the painting of Parrhasios: behind the curtain, there is nothing - nothing but the desire to see something behind the curtain.
Marion Delage of Luget