White Uto­pia

Art Press - - WHITE UTOPIA -

“We are in the in­con­cei­vable, but with dazzling land­marks.”

Re­né Char

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.

COS­MIC CO­ME­DY

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)

SUR­PRI­SING FOS­SILS

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.

CRYOGENIZED TRAU­MAS

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

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