Pierre Soulages

 ( 1919, Rodez)

“The gesture! I have always reacted early to this distribution of labels, but I cannot be responsible for the classifications made by art historians and critics. Indeed, it does not even bother me. You know, whatever the painting, there is always a gesture to lay the colour down on the painting. For my part, what matters is what takes place on the canvas: that painted trace possesses its own physiognomic qualities and it never resembles another; it has specific and irreplaceable qualities, a contour, a length, a thickness, a matter, accidents, colour, transparencies… Relations are set up between them and other forms, the background and all of the surface. These relations, these qualities are what I look at closely and which guide me: I am not a gestural painter. My work does not develop in the succession of gestures one after the other; it always develops through what has just occurred on the canvas and what I feel about that, which questions me and which I question, and which drives me to define and intensify what I feel to be on the point of emerging there. When you see a large brushstroke crossing three metres of canvas, you feel the gesture that applied that brushstroke, but it has become embodied in the canvas, and what interests me is this pictorial embodiment.”

Pierre Soulages, “Entretien avec Bernard Ceysson”, in Bernard Ceysson, Pierre Soulages, Flammarion, Paris, 1979.
Group shows at Ceysson Gallery
50: Les années fertiles, Luxembourg
June 30 - August 31, 2011