“We are in the inconceivable, but with dazzling landmarks.”
He speaks of a “breach of consciousness” and of “inner weather,” of “the magic of the world,” of “sensitive readings,” of “fractals,” of the “celebration of Mystery.” I listen to him expounding his ideas, analyzing himself, modestly, in the tone of a kind teacher. He politely jazzes up his words, puts in the right amount of scintillating adjectives, of storytelling and appetite. He envelops, like his art. This work is seen around the world. But Richard Texier feels the need to have it “validated” (his word) by “intellectuals.” He consults them and is concerned about the “general opinion,” as if to test his creations against ghostly eminences capable of institutionalizing culture and decreeing the value of an idea, the scope of a feeling. One senses that the artist is animated by those two complementary follies wherein Nicolas de Staël located the secret of the creative act: the intensity of authority and the intensity of doubt. In this sense Texier’s wondering pantheism has nothing of a ritual against terror. On the contrary, from his first moons all the way up to the Pantheo-Vortexes, he has been driven by the sidereal desire to celebrate the Universe, to give something back of its profusion of splendors, and to do so by the intermediary of a quivering visual astronomy, a messianic mass ce- lebrating the mechanics of vibrations and lights pulsing at the heart of things. These mechanics bring forth the pleasure of contemplating them, of eating them, of seeing them born. Contained, fantastical hedonism, in which nature, full of euphoria and promises, engulfs the technology that was hoping to seize it.
The artist can also be irreverent. This is manifest physically first of all, from his Balzacian energy, framed by his pictures but always overflowing, a wave of words coloring presences, waves of images colored by humors. Is not the Chaosmos series to the heavenly, so heavenly powers what the Human Comedy is to ambition that is human, too human? A magicking and patterning of everything that defies bourgeois pusillanimity and assignations to identity? From Balzac, Texier also seems to take his love of pears, which the novelist ate with such relish. One morning, the painter went into a state of contemplative ecstasy at this Brancusian fruit, just like Newton and Steve Jobs with their apples. But the pear is a fruit that grows and turns—a sweet vortex, in a word—unlike the apple, a globe that is always already eaten, dreaming of a memorable fall. The Pantheo
Vortex begins its ascending eddy with a pear-shaped illumination, Nature’s umpteenth gift to Man. Alas, this “enchanted apparatus” was cut up and tasted without
compunction—“the foundation of barbarism,” admits Richard, without a smile. The Pantheo-Vortex is a device that enchants and rights that wrong, in which pear-objects, multiplied, numerically composed, protected from the barbarous appetite of viewers, are exhibited as the objects of a future and therefore unknown cult. At first glance? The perpetually expanding collection of a cosmic cabinet of curiosities. Fossilized ambitions which, we sense, still pulse, are gathered in thematic order of forms and textures: Black Egg, Planete, Roche, Skystone—all references to the life/mineral limits, that switching point where rock becomes alive, where the calcite shell is gorged with cells. With Origine
du monde, mineral life becomes cutting coral, a vagina dentata whose whiteness calls for ink and blood. And before the giant egg Aepyornis, Les Trois îles or the
Otoliths, these lines by Serge Pey sum up our temptation: Pour ink/on the snow to make holes until silence comes/IF THERE IS NO MORE SNOW WHERE/WILL WHITENESS GO?(2)
The Pantheo-Vortexes: surprising fossils in the eye of a snowstorm that nothing can perforate, not an excess of meaning, of blood or hot breath. Pour ink? (That may be why Richard is so vampirically keen on intellectuals, philosophers and writers.) A waste of effort: there will always be the whiteness and the unattainable in these smooth lakes; commentators will get their fingers burnt. For this enchanting device is a giant screen. Immobile, suspended, eternal. A mono-block isolating images, holding back their fragile mobility. The ultimate shell (hung outside) of all these poem-eggs themselves hatched from within, whose shadow haloes and pins down their unreal presence. The black monolith in the film 2000 a Space Odyssey here becomes opalescent, nacreous, pear-flesh. Inverted visual seduction, from barba- rism to celebration. Irresistible and threatening disquiet, where the tool necessarily becomes an arm ( A Space Odyssey), opposing the pantheo-vortical quietude that is founded on the world, because stripped of the utensil, of the accessory, of conquest, and in which the slightest wonder becomes being, alterity, masterpiece.
The shadow of the Pantheo-Vortexes is not pictorial but aural. It signals the trembling of a dream. It makes the object baroque, fantastical and cruel. Wind catches in its contours and, with it, our gaze. It gives way to the wind on all sides, even below, and to the whistling of all the possibilities that go with it. White utopia, at the crossing of the miracles of transparency and revolutionary moonlight. “We dream too little,” wrote Michel de Ghelderode in a letter from 1933 to the painter Prosper de Troyer.(3) “This dream is inner action. If I lost the power to dream, I would kill myself at once. The pure artist is a medium who automatically notes his dreams, and does not have to explain them.” Like the Belgian dramatist, Texier in his Pantheo-Vortex series once again counters the western denial of magic. Here he uses an eschatological palette made of pulped traces, a designating mosaic mixing gems and the digital, illusion (egg, planet) and allusion (Gustave Courbet). And I like to think that I am his interstellar little brother. For when he was creating this galactic suite with its erudite title, I was finishing my last essay, L’Ambition ou l’épopée de soi, in which I conceptualize the “vortex” as a conflagration of the sacred flame that burns within us. “Ambition […] forms a multidirectional, ascending movement that absorbs and diffuses: the vortex. It makes the ambitious person’s life a devouring cyclone that devours and reorganizes everything it meets in order to optimize its ascensional power; but its role also consists in engendering the imperious dreams that the ambitious insatiably feed on. Thus, the vortex self-engenders: it is at once the cause of the ambitious person’s dream and their means of self-realization.” In the Pantheo-Vortex we find the double function of the ambition vortex: the filter of events (choosing only that part of the world that serves the artist’s urgent need) and the matrix of production of meaning (the elements chosen become symbols, markers of the stages of the ascent leading to supreme destiny). The questions put by this fragmented fresco change their angle. It is no longer a matter of wondering about full, “positive” manifestations, but rather of apprehending each work as the residue or the mutilation of an original object used and recycled, recomposed by a visceral passion, a cosmic ambition. Each block then becomes a cryogenic tank that contains a sleeping trauma, but always ready to be awoken by a curious, too curious viewer, with a hunger for barbarism. And the share of snow and nimbus that runs over each block is precisely what this hibernating trauma has tried to refrain or interrupt, like those snowboarders who, lost in an over-white snow in which before and after fuse, have no other instinctual recourse for reorienting themselves than to hit the ground with their head and faint. So that everything goes pear-shaped.
Translation, C. Penwarden
« Mouvements verticaux ». 2005. Peinture sur toile. 150 x 180 cm
“Vertical Movements.” Paint on canvas