Other, the night.

“Although the man worries in vain, he walks inside the picture”.  Saint-Augustin

Being into the night. Between. The moment between. Between the time of the pictures. In the folding. Into the blackness of the pictures, with the mark of its body.

Another world rises.
The awakening. The night is darker still.
It has the same language as the picture. Irreducible to its presence. It gives nothingness a body. It gives Nothing its shape of Nothing, the shape of something. Like dark water, the picture creates its night.

The eye lingers on the canvas and darkness enters. Filled with darkness the sight becomes the picture. The eye turns back and light enters.

A voice reaches someone in the dark. To imagine. It is the time of the world’s night.
The picture is the mark of its vanishment. The mark of gods that fled. The picture opens up to the appearance of the mark. To its presence, to its lack of visibility.

Something rips the picture apart. A killing.
The Devil, surely. Its head is red. The ripping opens up the face.
Dark. The universe is equal to its vast appetite. To its beauty.
Deadly darkness. The time of of the world’s night is the time when there is no more picture. The time when the picture makes the object of its sight out of its absence. The picture opens up time like she does its body. The Other of the visible. The time of the picture to come.

Every picture is the mark of the painting’s mystery. Its light. The child is its beauty. Its beauty seems to be wrapped in a veil of sadness, but it is not a veil, it is the true face of beauty.

Pascale Guillon, Tavel (France), 2009 (traduction Théo Kuperholc, 2009)


BELOW Keith Donovan

I sleep one floor below Jerome Borel’s studio.  In 2002 he’d come in early and make a whooshing noise.  In my half-sleep I believed at first the sound to be those plastic brooms you hear in Parisian gutter rivuelts.  Evenly paced sweeping, steady, for hours and hours.  We’d have coffee upstairs every couple of days and I could see all that sweeping condensed into the paintings.  It made the images hum.  They resemble blurry lanscape photographs taken from trains, complete with the whiplash power lines you see on the TGV at top speed.  Some of the paintings looked like northern Burgundy just out of Paris. I saw gray/blue and green fields and skies with indutrial elements flickering in and out from painting to painting, measuring the space between telephone poles.

The gray, black and white urban industrial material filled the frame of the later paintings of this period.  They all contain RER underground/elevated strobing and an oil, metal and rust scrawl that reminded me of the Canal de l’Ourq.

I left Paris for almost a year and on my return in place of the sweeping noise there was a stage-whispering static, a throbbing white noise punctuated by blasts of Sonic Youth.  The painter was audibly sandpapering his pictures.  Some of them looked like half-renovated walls or half-destroyed frescoes.  Softened lines unfurled into a marine life form or silhouetted an advanced sexual fantasy.  There were nipple-shapped jellyfish.  I saw torrid palette of Gustave Moreau, the greens and reds. Even the cerulean blue was hot: Odilon Redon at gare de l’Est, where calcified water has seeped through the dark orange wall tiles for the last 10 years, leaving great white coral-form stains.  Pubic-black shapes nestled in stellar globules.

Speed, symbolism, decay, sex.  Together that makes what?  Middle age intellectuals romp in the w.c. on the TGV? This is an elegaic carnal sybolism: painting as sex; florid and skanky.  The painter’s high-speed flickering is still visible but it’s been reduced to something seen between the floorboards, one element among others.  These couplings or copulations begin to humanise and populate the earlier landscapes.

Then all sound stopped coming down the stairs.  In the very last works I saw focus on the erotic had been diffused into a wider range of events.  The painter’s imaginative gaze elevates phenomena more banal than sex into highly important activity. Paint dribbled  dramatically sideways as fellow passengers, their bodies juicy puzzles fitted into foam-core seats, ate, drank, read and slept their way to more of the same.

Perhaps M. Borel is performing the simple act, on a train, of looking away from the window, or from his fantasies, to observe with sideways glances his fellow travellers.  He seems to be travelling very fast toward something ever more familiar.  He has caught this movement and the grave dignity it contains with the abandoned precision of a train conductor punching a ticket. We carry on with our business, more excited and more intent on paying attention.

It’s all going by so quickly.

Keith Donovan, 2004