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February 16 2009 2 16 /02 /February /2009 12:20


Consequences of the scenarists strike last year, restructured calendar by the TV channel, metaphor of the chaotic current mood and linked murder wishes, well, Canal+ points out now the (very good) Dexter series with an ambitious media planning. So, a lot of spectators discover the second season, one year late, of this strange series and follow the wanderings and questionings of a serial killer of killers to sum up. More astonishing, his job, blood spatter analyst, a sector of legal medicine, does exist. Not really the kind of job you’re thinking about when you’ve got your diploma… Projections, stains, blood drips are dissected and interpreted to reveal their deep significations. Exactly what we offer you at the carte today…

Let’s say that we’re going to restrict firstly to the things that pour, run, drip, slide, drag, spill and leak. The artistic recuperation of the drip can take different forms. The first one is the manifestation of a body language, putting the living at the heart of the process. The drip is close to the unconscious line, the spatter. The pictorial vehemence of the unfortunately still underestimated artist Georges Mathieu is an obvious example of this outflanking between mastership and rupture, consciousness and divine aspiration. The painting liquidity added to furious moves create projections as tangible proofs, as painter footprints. The drip turns itself to signature, a distinctive sign. Following the example of tags, the drip becomes the artist denomination. On these limit cases, we find artists like Jon One whom accumulated trickled tags on canvases mix genders and transcend distinctions of paintings. Joyce Pensato’s streaming became a distinctive trademark. Applied to Walt Disney heroes (Donald, Mickey, Pluto…) among others, the dripped treatments bring a sentimental projection, reverse values and associated connotations to characters. If the result is aesthetically very beautiful, the meaning is more questionable. The drip makes the painting living, it’s a possibility to rebel against mechanized reproductions processes, new medias, dehumanization and detachment adopted from conceptual artists to today. Concerning the great family of drippers, we have untidy painters: the handmade abstractions by Todd Chilton, the delicate drips on invented architectures backgrounds and pictorial structuralism perfectly executed by Christian Hellmich, the emotional transpositions of the trickles by Marc Desgrandchamps. We have also the voluntarily conscious of the deterioration artists : the poured streaks of Rosson Crowe accentuate the ill-at-ease feelings and the disturbing nature of really amazing compositions. On the mastered category, Dirk Skreber tactfully puts long lines of paints that interfere with the first reading of his pieces and introduce a part of supernatural abstraction into figuration. For Bruno Peinado, the drop stains the smooth finish and give to his works a vibrating and direct counterpoint.

Parallel to this drip penetration, constitutive or added, into preexisting pieces, other artists opted for a use of drip as full work, independent or predominant. We don’t care to know if Ernst, Masson or somebody else is the one who invented the dripping technique. What Pollock did with it is an absolute miracle. But it’s certainly reductive to consider the demoniac work of the American artist as a simple drip. It’s much more closer to a bloody projection. Great sparkling canvases by John Armleder are better examples of the possibilities offered by the drip by itself. The Pour Paintings are huge cascades of sequined, metallic, iridescent paintings mixed and clanked on vertically installed oblong canvases. Icon Tada creates fake drips mathematically developed and numerically printed. The accident is decided, overcame and put as a decorative element. If Christian Achenbach adds excessively colored paint trickles to figurative and almost naïve elements, the drips remain the main component and give strength to paintings. On Plaza, 18 carrots or Rock me Move me, the crude squirting of paints by Jim Lambie is the disruptive and central element of his embezzlement of every day objects. By mixing humor and tension, his works become a complete demonstration of the conceptualization of painting into installation domain. Lucas Ajemian on UT takes identical principle and process to Rock me Move me, exchanging the mattress with Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality vinyl (and putting Klein into the used blue…). Let’s say that it does not prevent him from being a very good and promising artist, alone or with his brother Jason.

Finally, a third experimental field could be analyzed : the drips that detach themselves from their pictorial position and acquire a new dimension, the third one. The Founding Father of this movement is the outrageous Robert Smithson with two brilliant interventions : Asphalt Rundown on 1969 and Glue Pour on 1970. If the definitions are on the titles, the consequences are unlimited. Earth’s transformation is a grand gesture and repercussions are what art should be waiting for and reach. To sum up, it’s beautiful, strong, clever, multiple, sensitive and aesthetic : a nice (master) stroke. Cesar Baldaccini’s Expansions are discharges of polyurethane simulating paint, treating drip on a sculptural way, fixing the extension, stopping the move, mastering the uncontrollable. We could also mention Joachim Blank and his Black Rain series that defies painting/sculpture/installation limits. He cuts shapes of paint drips on wood panels, then slide a black Plexiglas plate behind his cut to reproduce an illusion of dripping. He gathers trompe-l’oeil tradition, nature imitation, fake reality on a perfect minimalist collection. The result is magnificent and conceptually elegant. The drip almost reaches an iconic status underlined by the technical creation of its realization.

Symbol of badly and quickly done, of dirtiness, the drip became a rebel sign revealing, by its mastership or by its freedom, a disconcerting and mature aesthetical power. And if you say that, such a daubing, your kids do the same, promise, we send you Dexter…

[Pictures : above, Joachim Blank, Black Rain III, 2008. Weisses Acryl, schwarzes Acrylglas, MDF-Holz, 104 x 80 x 10 cm. Courtesy the artist.  Below : Dirk Skreber, Untitled (Sunken Houses), 2000. Oil on canvas, 366.4 x 169.5 cm. Courtesy the artist and Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York]


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French Knight 05/12/2009 07:32

Modern art is difficult to understand for me. My last good experience was Matisse... After, all artists were a "back vision" for my "sweety eyes"..lol

French Knight 05/12/2009 07:32

Modern art is difficult to understand for me. My last good experience was Matisse... After, all artists were a "back vision" for my "sweety eyes"..lol

volaas 03/03/2009 22:25

Excellent vision of painting and its use of drops as tears... something so human...