Antoine Puisais

Before anything else, it's important to understand how my system operates. I use matrices to transfer on to canvas the results of my researches. Matrices are panels of plywood which act as stamps. So that what you see on these canvases is the result of a method of haphazard replication which leaves lots of room for the accidental.

Matrices are constantly reused, covered again and again by several layers of plaster, paint, and pigment. New paintings carry the scars of old ones. Old compositions help new compositions, everything is reinterpreted. But my work does not stop there. Once the painting is revealed, I take pictures of it and transform the images with processing software. A conversation then begins between the digital images and my studio work. Canvases are cut, turned and stuck together until I find harmony between my discoveries and my plans.

In 1911, Georg Simmel claimed that architecture consists of a balancing act between the upward striving of the human spirit and the destructive forces of natural decay, for him, ruins represent nature’s defiant reclamation of her own materials. The ruin is nature’s victory over human enterprise, he wrote, formed when nature transforms the work of humankind ‘into material for her own expression’.

This is what happens in my paintings. Each new painting is a playground full of possibilities and pitfalls. Each time, I tear away the canvas from its support, I discover the painting. From there, I act like an archaeologist who digs up elements from the past and connects them in order to understand the present. The result of this process is an endless procession of “accidents” and errors. I have to adjust to what I discover. I have to deal with organic reality. My project is not meant to show paintings but to show how paintings are conceived and created. To show what’s happening behind the last coat of paint. How images slowly fade to reveal structures.

 

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