Gérard Garrost: “The painting belongs to those who look at it”

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Gerard Garrost warned of the qualifiers. The “artist” does not really suit him, and he calls himself a painter only because he produces and sells paintings. Instead, it calls for a shift of attention to interpretation, regardless of style. Because all art, according to him, is in the eye of the “spectator”. Borrow this idea from Marcel DuchampWhich he read carefully before leaving. Renewing the interest in photography in an age transcended by abstraction, he borrowed its motifs from literature (CervantesAnd the DanteAnd the RabelaisAnd the Kafka…), to philosophy and biblical texts, which he enters into a dialogue and sometimes collides with.

“troubled”Make doubt the engine of creation, In the footsteps of the Talmud interpreters who study them with the philosopher Mark Alan OkninAnd the “Perspective” Nietzsche: There are no facts, only explanations. Beginning at the end of the seventies and ending today, the exhibition path dedicated to it by the Pompidou Center, designed by the curator Sophie Duplex, and thus takes the form of a labyrinth where puzzles and riddles unfold. Gérard Garrost agreed to guide us there, by answering our questions.

You guide the visitor in this gallery Across Short personal text engraved on the walls, which is about a “Dark Palace”. What space do we enter when crossing the threshold of this retrospective exhibition?

Gerard Garrost: First, my tables are always connected to each other. There is even a series called Zeugma. The Greek term (ζεῦγμα) designates “bridge”. Zeugma was a town in Syria on the banks of the Euphrates River, spanned by a famous bridge. It joined the other side of the river and collapsed, but the idea of ​​the link between the two cities remained, from the absence of connecting two things. It continues in the speech form of the same name – like an ellipse, zeugme consists of the combination under the same word of two different terms. The entire exhibition is grounded in this perspective: an absence that connects the paintings is somehow more important than the paintings themselves. What matters is the link made by the viewer. From one gallery to another, the comment changes. According to her, the curator of this exhibition, Sophie Duplex, has made contacts “Charm” clean. She knows my catalogs but she hung free intellectual bonds, as if the paintings were words she was arranging to write a story.

“At Beaux-Arts, no one knew how to draw, and both students and teachers thought they were good” Gerard Garrost

What is this story?

I will tell you the essence. When I was young, I was good at drawing and painting, and that was the one thing I didn’t do poorly. It made sense that at some point I was back in fine arts. I wanted to enter it as in an academy of music or conservatory, where one learns music above all before life is great. But the workshops were of little interest. No one knew how to draw, and both students and teachers thought they were good at it. Learning to draw first for me was to go see paintings in museums. Then I was kicked in the stomach by publishing a book of interviews in 1966 with Marcel Duchampled by critic Pierre Caban. We were already in the era of iconoclasm – like artists artistAnd the MatisseAnd the lightAnd the Mero Compete in originality. But with Duchamp, the problem is no longer about originality. He questioned the artist’s idea, considering it “It is the viewer who makes the picture”. Thus he was able to place a urinal in the middle of the portico and call it “The Fountain”. For me, who loves to draw, this was a serious problem. Was this the end of the painting? Some, at the time, abandoned it entirely. French-Swiss artist we will Abandoned it, he was only writing, white on black. He noted in one of his quotes: “Definitely anything is art, including the space between your toes.” I took this quote at face value: If art is everywhere, where is it? Nowhere?

And yet you are now embodying the revival of photography. How does one recover from such awareness?

My obvious reaction was to head drumHe takes everything back to its roots, from art history and philosophy. If you are a painter, what is painting? what is the subject? Nicholas Poussin He had previously done this investigation, and had traveled to Italy to do research on painting, the nude, the mythical scene, the landscape… He had settled in Rome, studied at a Baroque school and attended anatomy to learn human anatomy. I went on my own adventure, starting with a clean slate.

“If you are a painter, what is painting? ? what is the subject ? I went on an adventure, started with a clean slate” Gerard Garrost

What is the subject of the drawing in your opinion?

My first themes, presented at the beginning of the show, were initially somewhat personal legends. We see constellations, references to Greek and Latin myths, personal myths… and at some point, everything changes. The process of painting scenes, telling and illustrating stories, as one might do in the Renaissance, and learning from them, leaves room for question. I deal with ambiguous subjects in a symbolic and narrative style. I collect different stories and conflicting patterns to create a puzzle. We can think that the words are there to tell a story; One might think on the contrary that stories have an interest only in the words they put into the scene. Then we move on to the words. So we can read the Bible in a literal way or just think of it as a matter of interpretation. Beyond its comedic dimensions, Rabelais – to whom he assigned an installation in the exhibition, Backpack diving He had some knowledge of Kabbalah, and he remembered this: Words are stones that you strike against each other, and that sparks sparks. It’s a beautiful metaphor: sparks produced are not synonyms or synonyms, they are other meanings born from the words in question.

“Combine different stories and patterns that collide together to create a puzzle” Gerard Garrost

Is it a metaphor for creation?

Borrow in any case of language creation. The Bible is written in Hebrew, a very special language, the construction of which corresponds to this explosion in the sense that Rabelais speaks of. Biblical stories, in and of themselves, are ultimately of little value; To touch the real subject, it is necessary to produce interpretations that go beyond the literal meaning: in heaven, Adam wanders around naked and meets a snake.. so what? Interesting is the word snake – naughty (Dr). In Greek mythology there are many animals, but they are always reduced to a human character. The donkey is a stupid animal, the lion is a king, the fox is smart… In the text of the Bible, animals do not exist for what they really are, they exist for the way they are written and spelled. naughty Thus it means snake but also divination. ass – Shamour ()) , it refers to the donkey but also evokes “material”. So we can explain the coming of Christ on the back of a donkey: it is the spirit that dominates matter. Studying the Talmud gives this wonderful opening because we are at the heart of language. It is a way of seeing the foundational text, mythological or religious, as a philologist, as he did Nietzschefavorite they ‘Infinite senses’ For plain truth, interpretation of facts alone.

You often say that drawing does not interest you. why ?

My job is to be a painter because I sell paintings. But art is only a medium and my interest is not painting. Painting has nothing to do with acting, it has the advantage of being like a dream: not because we tell the dream that we have an interpretation or interpretation of it. I draw a painting and I have a vague idea of ​​it. We can discuss the interpretation. But the painting belongs to whoever looks at it. There is no doubt that the way I saw my paintings was very different from what I had imagined, I made them. And you are right!

Only fascist ideas exist in ‘truth’ without a doubt. Gerard Garrost

Would you say that painting is a search for truth or the absolute?

The poster shows me as Pinocchio. We can say that drawing is a performative contradiction. By drawing what is not there, the painter says: I am a liar. And so he lies saying that. Is he telling the truth? This is the false paradox.

Is it basically trompe-l’oeil art?

It’s a matter of not cheating, knowing that we’ll always run away from the basic anyway. Only fascist ideas are “true” without a doubt.

What do you discover about yourself at the end of such a retrospective?

I have confirmation – confirmation, not certainty! – Being on the right track…but like VirgilAt first Divine Comedy Dante, on a dark roadBecause the straight path has been lost. I often repeat this other quote taught to me by Mark Alan Oknin, with whom I study: “Never ask the way to someone who knows her, she may not be lost”.

The Gérard Garrost retrospective runs until January 2, 2023 at the Center Pompidou in Paris. More information on the official website of the exhibition.

Read to go further : really paintAnd the Interview between Gerard Garrost and Catherine Grenier (Sowell, 2021), and uncomfortableAnd the Biographical story co-signed with Judith Perignon (Iconoclaste, 2009, re-edited 2022).

#Gérard #Garrost #painting #belongs

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