Sous sur face, an exhibition proposed by Anne-Laure Peressin. From march 23 to april 13, 2023.

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Does any form still have an enigma?

From the Platonic origins of the theory of forms to Aristotle's hylemorphism, the question of form must continue to be nourished by contemporary creation in the era of the physical disembodiment of the object towards its virtual incarnation. The work of Nils Vandevenne and Bryce Delplanque contributes to questioning our relationship to the primary perception of form in order to probe its content, its substance, its meaning and therefore its scope. This art ethic evokes the precepts of Supports/Surfaces in its desire to deconstruct form in order to (re)conscientize its fundamentals in creation: the object that makes up a work is composed of a support (which can be both a purpose or a base on which the work is born), a format that limits a physical and visual space, different temporal operations and materialities added or subtracted, or even absent. These elemental notions are conditionally revealed according to where the object-work is intended to be seen: in the hushed living room of the collector, on the pristine walls of an art center, or in an Instagram post.

In the basement of Poush, the exhibition Sous sur face associates the works of Nils Vandevenne and Bryce Delplanque in a will to play with the combinations between their pictorial works and the structure of this disused place, as a way of descending under the surface of the paint and the concrete. In his series of Small Theaters - paintings on wood where the cracks reveal honeycombed cardboard -, Nils Vandevenne gives an account of a process of de-composition where the meaning manifests itself not in the artist's mind, but in its making. His raw material comes essentially from wood and cardboard scraps, from industrial production, where the challenge is to "make do with"[1]. In this sense, the creative process evokes the figure of the bricoleur in Claude Lévi-Strauss[2] who makes visible the material and technical experimentation. With his tool, Nils Vandevenne frees the bowels of the painting from its surface, which has been previously painted in a palette as delicate as the invoice. By a performative and instinctive act, the artist responds to his own injunction to tear off, to alter, to devour the layers, like the parasite of his own theater[3], to excavate the consistency and the history of the object he dissects. The unveiled raw material embodies the neutrality that the gesture carries: it contributes to de-signify the gesture, to de-subjectify it, to better reveal the formal subject of the object. In other words, the Small theaters of Nils Vandevenne must be apprehended in a narrativity of the painting-object in agreement with the etymology of the word theater "place of where one looks", following the example of Teatrini of Lucio Fontana.

And if it was necessary to designate things by words, Bryce Delplanque's work questions the way we ordinarily look at objects, and the words that end up replacing them, so that we no longer see objects in their originality and uniqueness once they are formally identified. Because the first impression of a new form is strange, ephemeral, unexpected and irreplaceable, Bryce Delplanque questions this elusive perception by re-invoking it. To do so, the artist encounters unfamiliar objects drawn from a foreign vocabulary, notably accessories or utensils from the Far East, in order to keep a distance from our attachment to reality. This detachment is what Henri Bergson attributes to the artist's faculty of "perception detached from usefulness and need", and which in Bryce Delplanque's work translates into a process of reconverting an initial object into a glazed stoneware sculpture, before being photographed and then reproduced in silkscreen, to be incorporated in an oil on canvas. The front surface shows a figurative object whose weft contrasts strongly with the smooth touch of the pictorial material. The "background" evokes the table corners of Henri Fantin-Latour's still lifes with flowers, except that spatial perspective is thwarted here by the very object of the painting as a support-object. Its thick, brightly colored frame manifests its existence by reverberating its color outside the painting, on the surface where it is hung. From then on, the relationship to the object changes: it becomes three-dimensional, sculptural and invites the whole body of the viewer to move to the side in order to better apprehend the question of the device and the frame, the support and the surface.

In Sous sur face, Bryce Delplanque and Nils Vandevenne integrate a fundamental dimension in the continuity of their reflection, that of the relationship or the reference of the object to its space. A common work has been elaborated in order to integrate itself into the specificities of the place, as the starting point that allows to give equal importance, without hierarchy between the support and the surface, to everything that makes form in contemporary creation.

[1] Can be understood as the economy of means, however, in the process of Nils Vandevenne, the "to make with" must be apprehended more in the prolongation of a step of duchampienne and the ready-made: to make "with" the object.

[2] La Pensée sauvage, 1962.

[3] Double reference of the parasite: 1. organism that colonizes what is given to it to eat. 2. Analogy to the character of the parasite in the ancient theater.

Text by Anne-Laure Peressin

Curator Anne-Laure Peressin

Exhibition from March 23 to April 13, 2023. Visit every Wednesday at 6:45 pm (registration required) and by appointment. Opening on April 1, 2023, 5-9 pm (registration required).

Dans Sous sur face, Bryce Delplanque et Nils Vandevenne intègrent une dimension fondamentale dans la continuité de leur réflexion, celle du rapport ou du renvoi de l’objet à son espace. Une œuvre en commun a été élaborée pour s’intégrer aux spécificités du lieu, comme le point de départ qui permet d’accorder une importance égale, sans hiérarchie entre le support et la surface, à tout ce qui fait forme dans la création contemporaine.