Ano­ther En­try in­to the Heart of the World


It was in 2009 that Ri­chard Texier inau­gu­ra­ted a sin­gu­lar se­ries of pain­tings cal­led Chaos­mos, which now num­bers some hun­dred pieces, a se­ries in which he conti­nues to work in pa­ral­lel to the more recent Pantheo-Vor­tex pieces. “Chaos­mos.” This port­man­teau word was coi­ned by James Joyce in Fin­ne­gans

Wake, in 1939, in one of its ver­ti­gi­nous sen­tences, as if he sen­sed and was ar­tis­ti­cal­ly ve­ri­fying that the cos­mos could be main­tai­ned on­ly if it em­bra­ced chaos. Bet­ter, that the cos­mos and chaos are part of a great conti­nuum in which or­der and di­sor­der are in­ex­tri­ca­bly lin­ked. In the ear­ly 1970s Gilles De­leuze and Fé­lix Guat­ta­ri re­vi­si­ted Joyce’s chaos­mos, no­ta­bly in Mille Pla­teaux ( Thou­sand

Pla­teaus), to af­firm: “Chaos is not the op­po­site of rhythm, but the mi­lieu of all mi­lieus.” It is, li­te­ral­ly, this “mi­lieu of all mi­lieus” that Texier, as an as­tro­phy­si­cist of pain­ting, seeks to de­crypt and re­create. Chaos­mos is none other than a ce­le­bra­tion of ener­gy as a sum­ma­ry of the his­to­ry of the world. The his­to­ry of a pain­ting here consti­tutes an ex­pe­ri­men­tal field, a me­ta­phor for the tur­bu­lences and ed­dies of the uni­verse. The ori­gin of the pain­ting was a tel­lu­rian mag­ma, a hur­ly-bur­ly, pul­ling in the mat­ter of the pig­ments, of ash, of fire, so­me­thing like a ge­ne­sis that, lit­tle by lit­tle, be­comes stable. What is put in­to play here is the re­ve­la­tion of a kind of black mat­ter, but which ir­re­sis­ti­bly points to­wards the light and bor­rows a mul­ti­tude of res­ting points em­bo­died by pebbles or flat stones. The change of be­co­ming, plu­ra­li­ty, em­pa­thy, op­po­si­tion, contra­dic­tion, com­bat—all the mo­ve­ments of the real are there, ful­ly present, but seen un­der the fluid si­gn of in­ter­de­pen­dence. Texier con­ceives each pain­ting as an open sys­tem made to condense the di­ver­si­ty of life.


In the fi­re­works of chao­tic par­ticles that is the pain­ting, pig­ments be­gin to slide, slip in­to the lit­tle holes bet­ween re­liefs. Lumps form, va­ria­tions in den­si­ty, na­tive in­ten­si­ties. The am­bi­tion here is to speak speed, as­pi­ra­tion. In the ve­ry un­pre­dic­ta­bi­li­ty of the chao­tic rust­ling spi­rals of or­der emerge conti­nual­ly. On these spi­rals, no­thing exists in iso­la­tion. Eve­ry­thing echoes, eve­ry­thing com­mu­ni­cates: the no­tions of centre and confine va­nish. Apo­gee­de­cline, full-emp­ty, back-forth, sha­dow­light. Polarities that pro­duce life. Suave or shat­te­ring si­mi­la­ri­ties of frac­tal spaces. What goes comes back, what comes back goes. On­ly trans­for­ma­tion is im­mu­table,

the shif­ting base of the world. The swell of atoms, suc­ces­sion of me­ta­mor­phoses: tran­si­tion is the on­ly rule. With Texier, pain­ting is once again an exer­cise in spe­cu­la­tive cos­mo­lo­gy. “Yin and yang,” says Zhuang­zi, “dia­logue and har­mo­nize.” In the depths of the pain­ting, as in the depths of the sky or the heart, the soft har­dens, the hard sof­tens. Eve­ry­thing in­vokes things other than it­self. At the summit of its ener­gy ten­sion, the cube is so cu­bic that it be­comes a sphere, and when the sphere at­tains its per­fec­tion, it switches to its be­co­ming-cube. Is it not the ul­ti­mate re­fi­ne­ment of the uni­verse when this chaos ti­ring of its over-full­ness of chaos re­turns to equi­li­brium in or­der to ap­pease its waves? This chaos which shuffles and re­shuffles all the cards to end ob­ses­si­ve­ly at a new point of equi­li­brium, this chaos which spon­ta­neous­ly or­ga­nizes its sta­bi­li­ty to the de­gree that it pro­vides ma­trices hos­pi­table to life? In

fine, equi­li­brium re­turns, splen­did­ly, with phe­no­me­nal ge­ne­ro­si­ty, so sump­tuous­ly har­mo­nious that again and ti­re­less­ly it calls for a re­turn to chaos.


I am trying, Texier seems to be saying, to find me­ta­phors to dia­logue with the forces of the world. Nei­ther more nor less than that. This is cal­led art, a si­mu­la­crum see­king ti­re­less­ly to say the world. To trans­cribe its sap, its res­pi­ra­tion, its rhythm, its ener­gy. Ener­gy, that is the key­word here. A put­ting-in­to-mo­ve­ment, where eve­ry­thing can be trans­la­ted. If I ob­serve Texier’s tee­ming tra­jec­to­ry, I won­der if it is not, deep down, this con­ti­nuous and al­most car­nal contact with ener­gy that en­ables him to trans­cend the la­zy di­cho­to­my: ei­ther re­ject tra­di­tion or fol­low the rules. Ne­ver li­near, he un­re­mit­tin­gly pri­vi­leges a cir­cu­lar dy­na­mic, pro­cee­ding by cycles, spi­rals or men­tal sea­sons. The ve­ry idea of chro­no­lo­gi­cal lo­gic is in­ap­pli­cable for him when it comes to raw­ly ex­pres­sing the po­ly­pho­ny ( po­ly­fol­ly) that moves us. All his work, in­deed, could be consi­de­red a poe­tic put­ting on trial of dis­cur­sive rea­son as the or­di­na­ry func­tio­nal prin­ciple of the mind. From one se­ries to ano­ther, from the Ca

len­driers lu­naires concei­ved in the 1980s to the Pantheo-Vor­tex se­ries star­ting in 2011, Texier has drawn on a long me­di­ta­tion on the in­ti­mate, al­most amo­rous cor­res­pon­dence bet­ween the cos­mic and the pic­to­rial. He has cons­tant­ly, in his own terms, “em­bra­ced the uni­ver­sal ener­gy.” Wi­thout feints, wi­thout crutches, it is as if he has emp­tied him­self in fa­vor of his pain­tings and sculp­tures. He car­ries ce­le­bra­tion in his heart, but he could not ce­le­brate the cos­mos wi­thout de­ligh­ting in chaos, wi­thout lis­te­ning to its end­less crea­ti­vi­ty, its fa­thom­less aes­the­tic, its in­con­cei­vable drun­ken­ness. Like the T’ang poets who put their seal on dream stones or eter­ni­ty stones, Texier’s chaos­mic can­vases si­gn the tre­mors of space-time, in­ters­tel­lar rhythms. He makes, un­makes and re­makes a uni­verse in cons­tant vi­bra­tion. Like the American re­sear­chers who, in March 2014, ob­ser­ved for the first time the traces of “gra­vi­ta­tio­nal waves” conti­nuing from the Big Bang, he strives to get the ol­dest light in­to the world in­to his pain­ting, the light that still co­vers our sky with its last glows. What do we see in Chaos­mos? An or­de­red and di­sor­de­red world that is still ex­pan­ding, a still be­co­ming present, an ocean of pos­si­bi­li­ties. All ed­dying me­ta­phors of our des­ti­ny, on the edge of mea­ning and non-mea­ning.

Trans­la­tion, C. Pen­war­den Zéno Bianu’s ma­ny books co­ver the fields of poe­try, theatre, visual arts and the Orient, and are pu­bli­shed, among others, by Gal­li­mard and Fa­ta Mor­ga­na.

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