Bertrand Lavier. Nouveaux tableaux 2005
Bertrand Lavier’s work has too often been reduced to a set of variations on Marcel Duchamp‘s readymade. Pure critical sloth. Paolo Uccello may have used perspective after Masaccio, but that does not make him the latter’s epigone. Uccello was simply using a symbolic system invented before he came along and giving it a very personal twist.
This is what Bertrand Lavier does: the readymade being for our time what perspective was for the Renaissance – a visual system, he uses it to talk about the world around him, to express his astonishment at our relationship to history, to time, to representation. Moreover, he apprehends the notion of readymade in an original, cinematic way: he neither exhibits or paints objects, he films them.
For Bertrand Lavier oeuvre is made up of special effects. Its chosen subject is the degree of illusion needed to sustain images, and its method the techniques that enable displacement of things. In this it can be likened to cinematography, that is to say, the writing of movement. Like René Clair, Lavier always comes up with unexpected theories; and like Sacha Guitry, he uses form to organize a discourse that runs deeper than it seems.
When he produced this series of Frank Stella revivals in 2005, updating works painted by the American artist in the 1960s, his use of neon added a soundtrack, like a transition from the acoustic to the electric guitar. His cover versions of Stella are an amplification – complete with distortion and feedback. But sounds, orstyles, are also dating factors: any image is read by a date. The Lascaux cave paintings date not only from the prehistoric moment of their genesis; they are also contemporaries of Picasso and Henry Moore, who really saw them. Thus the New Paintings 2005, presented in 2021, are transformed yet again. See you at Kamel Mennour Paris.