OCTOBER 3RD - DECEMBER 14TH 2020
Samuel Richardot's work is best approached as a voyage of discovery, a crossing over into pictorial spaces where the dramas of our world are played out.
The starting point is a white rectangular surface on which colours stand their ground. A game of hide-and-seek on canvas perhaps or a field of diagonals on manoeuvres, dividing the smallest rectangles with red on green or green on red.
Outlines are crisp, yet the colours are so fierce that frontiers between the different tints dazzle the eye. The wavelengths of light literally interact and have the effect of a coloured vibrato pulsating against the white primed canvas.
Above and below the triangular slices of colour, a counter-point begins as irregular wavy lines traverse the space. Composed of tiny dots, they were probably spray painted and this serves to harden the straight edges of the rectangular zone on either side.
The blurred lines begin to resemble cut-off shadows. Blackness creates a sudden halt in motion, an end-stop to the image. It also abruptly opens up multiple and conflicting horizons across the breadth of canvas. We begin to wonder about the patch of yellow nearby, hemmed in by blurred edges of shadowy black.
IRBAZ is our doorway into Int'ubagu. The painting’s acronymicsounding title is an anagram made from inverting the order of the first two syllables in the keyword. We do not necessarily need to know where it comes from.
Generally speaking, the titles of these paintings are of no help in explaining the artist’s works. For a start, Samuel Richardot adds them much later and to a certain extent they tell another story on a separate time line. Above all, the paintings offer an experience of the power of perception.
The title, Irbaz, sounds like a distant city in the Far East. In fact it refers to a bookstore not far from Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. Knowing this may not suggest a complete story, but the famous border crossing certainly evokes a journey between East and West, pinpointing a political time period and geographical location. The bookshop in question is called Zabriskie, in homage to Michelangelo Antonioni's 1970 film Zabriskie Point - which also happens to be the name of a punk band created in Nantes in the nineties (1992-1999). If the artist was in Berlin at the beginning of the 21st century, this means he belongs to a generation born before 1989 who have lived through the opening of European borders and free movement.
As a young man in Berlin, he was able to stand at the junction of East and West zones, symbolised by the checkpoint. Today tourists take home souvenir pictures of the border-post which happens to be just opposite a McDonald's with yellow letters. The red lines and yellow stripe of the painting are perhaps a heraldic tribute to old films that have preserved images in our collective memory of the East-West divide during part of the 20th century.
The painting is a crossing point too. It allows us to question notions of zones, of territories and of imaginary geographical locations inspired by natural landscapes, notions also of building personal worlds constructed symbolically out of dreams in the desert. Checkpoint Charlie was on the eastern side of a "no man's land": a forbidden, dangerous and impassable zone.
The black curves could be those of barbed wire. In the closing scene of Zabriskie Point, the world of consumerism and its objects lie shattered around. Floating in the blue sky to the sound of Pink Floyd’s music, we see a modernist style house built on rocks. Clothes, fruit, vegetables and packets of sandwich bread burst from its exploding fridge.
The remains of this shattered world take the form of lines, curves and obtuse angles that seem to have landed on Samuel Richardot's graphic canvases.
Marie de Brugerolle - A l’envers du monde, septembre 2020 (extract), full French text can be downloaded here : télécharger le texte