Mar­tial Raysse The As­ce­sis of Pain­ting

Art Press - - L’INTERVIEW -

A year be­fore the so­lo show to be or­ga­ni­zed at Fran­çois Pinault’s Pa­laz­zo Gras­si space in Ve­nice du­ring the 2015 Bien­nale, this spring the Pom­pi­dou Cen­ter is put­ting on a ma­jor re­tros­pec­tive of the work of Mar­tial Raysse (May 14–Sep­tem­ber 22, 2014) cu­ra­ted by Ca­the­rine Grenier. The artist’s first Pa­ri­sian show since the Jeu de Paume did him the ho­nors back in 1993, it is ano­ther op­por­tu­ni­ty to ap­pre­ciate the va­rie­ty of his art, in which pain­ting oc­cu­pies a cen­tral po­si­tion. In this interview, Raysse dis­cusses the new di­rec­tions in his work, which seems to have gai­ned consi­de­ra­bly in free­dom over the last ten years.

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What work that you have seen over the last few months has made the big­gest im­pres­sion on you? If I had to choose on­ly one, it would be the portrait of a priest by Gio­van­ni Bat­tis­ta Mo­ro­ni (1520–1578), at the Ac­ca­de­mia Car­ra­ra, Ber­ga­mo. The psy­cho­lo­gy is ve­ry mo­ving, and it is ad­mi­ra­bly pain­ted.

DRA­WING AND CO­LOR

Do you think of your­self more as a co­lo­rist or more a drafts­man? I am above all a drafts­man be­cause I have a ve­ry par­ti­cu­lar idea of pain­ting. My fee­ling is that if the form is right, the co­lor will be a na­tu­ral fit. Do you still pre­pare your own pig­ments? For ma­ny years I wor­ked with acry­lic bin­ders and pig­ments, but for a while now I have been wor­rying about how they will shape up over the hun­dred years to come. So I use oils. And for my big pain­tings, gi­ven their size, it’s ea­sier to use paint in tubes. How do your images come to you? Images are like the lines of a poem: they come down from the hea­vens. A poe­tic emo­tion sug­gests a line. The work of the poet lies, pre­ci­se­ly, in knit­ting to­ge­ther these lines that arise from pa­ral­lel but di­verse emo­tions. Pain­ting is a bit like that, too: you have an image in your mind, of a group of people per­so­ni­fying a sto­ry. Then other cha­rac­ters come in and the image lives its own life. For Ici Plage I drew the fi­gures in ad­vance. I no lon­ger wait to see what hap­pens in the pain­ting it­self. And what about Heu­reux ri­vage (2007), for example? That pain­ting cor­res­ponds to a ve­ry pre­cise vi­sion that I had. I was at For­men­te­ra, being pur­sued by these cranks, whom I ma­na­ged to es­cape. I had to get a boat to leave on, and in the end I found my­self at the top of a lit­tle hill. There was a fin­ca there, right in the sun­light. There was a young man lying un­der an ar­bor in the blue half-light, ve­ry hand­some. He was al­most the same co­lor as Kri­sh­na. I thought

« Sur l’air du roi Re­naud por­tant ses tripes dans ses mains ». 2013. Pa­pier mâ­ché. 185 x 70 x 55 cm (Coll. Mar­tial Raysse ; Court. gal. ka­mel men­nour ; Pho­to © Centre Pom­pi­dou /Ph. Mi­geat). “To the Tune of King Re­naud Hol­ding His Guts in His Hands”

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