Messagier - Viallat

Peindre sans retenue

March 12 - May 21, 2016


Artists :
Jean Messagier
Claude Viallat

 Christophe Mélard loves the work of Jean Messagier and that of Claude Viallat. Passionately! And he provided them with some companionship on their way during the eighties, in a manner characterized by their differences and divergences. With him, and under his leadership, we have imagined it the unlikely but fascinating journey…
In both and in different ways during these years, the first felicitous divergences appeared, progressively clearer and clearer – in terms of style and their expertise – then established and already endorsed by the history of art…
Upon looking at their paintings, the leap made at the time by Jean Messagier out of his celebrated “manner”, seems at first glance more spectacular than the one hazarded by Claude Viallat. His modus operandi certainly changed, but without breaking with the theoretical foundations and practices underlying his work since 1966. The same is true for Jean Messagier. His manner, a swirling rococo but always renewed abstraction, gives life to fabulous figures arising from his actual experiences of reality and time. But despite this, a poetic “theory” of art as strongly articulated as in the work of exponents of the Supports / Surfaces movement nevertheless developed from the emotions felt by the artist during his immersion in nature. In both cases, there is no break, but rather fulfilment and celebration. Both paint, free, without constraint and restraint. For their pleasure and for ours…
Jean Messagier’s teeming and lyrical, sometimes expressionist and theatrical gestures – to the point of excess – sought and manifested by interlacing and whirls from which re-emerge the world and all that populates and animates it, is contrasted in Claude Viallat by a plan, a quest that led many artists in the 1970s towards an impersonal and minimalist manner reflecting a distanced anti-theatricality. But only apparently, as Claude Viallat ventures with obvious glee to use effects of brushstrokes and lines in which the stretching of the pictorial material can be read as the gesture creating form, frequently generated from the interior outward to form the outline…

“I try to make the repetitive form work, not in the sense of an optical game, but in that of going beyond the single as represented by the painting or object presented: it is therefore not a question of a subjective list, but rather of creating an infinite number of the subject (painting and looking) and in some sense of cancelling it. The repetitive here is not the suspension of pictorial codes in a timeless wave but the reactivation of their generative functions.”
Claude Viallat.

“I always have this crazy desire to fill the space with dizzying, eternal, repeated, multiplied whirls to build a palace within the palace of the day, of the night or day, to double reality, give it more force, to the point of exhaustion, to go right to the end of the show, continuing an unfinished hill, the banks of a river, all the peaks that rise to heaven or descend to the depths, and to water all this with dew, perfume and blood.”
Jean Messagier  

Visitor Information

Ceysson & Bénétière
13 - 15 rue d'Arlon L8399 Wandhaff

Gallery hours:
Wednesday - Saturday
12 noon - 6pm
T: + 352 26 20 20 95