RAPHAEL LECOQUIERRE - Unbirthday

Saturday Feb 3 from 5pm

Vernissage & Book signing
food installation by Léa Maltese

Exhibition till March 2

 

Protean and paradoxical, Raphaël Lecoquierre's frescoes are the result of a process that draws on a vast collection of vernacular analog photographs. Subjected to a process of oxidation to extract their colored substance, their pigments are then incorporated into Venetian stucco and used as raw material for the creation of motifs that emerge and re-emerge on the surface of the work.

As part of his exhibition at Saint-Martin Bookshop, the artist has been invited to occupy all three floors of the bookshop. His intervention interrogates the various cycles that the place has undergone, and intrudes into the intimacy of its grammar. On the first floor, the cylindrical columns take the form of precious jewel cases. Sometimes enlarged, sometimes reduced in size, their elevation culminates on the second floor, a space between two worlds. Concealed in a hall of mirrors, the fresco we unwittingly walk through guides us to the other side. The other side of what? Contemplative, the rooms on the top floor invite us to reflect on the meaning or nonsense of this question.

Nonsense is a literary genre that emerged in the Victorian era following the famous writings of Lewis Carroll. It induces a dual and ambiguous attitude, which amounts to a temporary subversion of codes while scrupulously respecting the rules of vocabulary, not syntax, based on "a very strict grammar".
Gilles Deleuze, in his Logique du sens, shows that meaning and nonsense are in fact the same thing: they are the opposite of "bon-sens", the common sense of language in which we are mired. The more literal translation, then, would be "deregulated" meaning.

In his many attempts to translate the Carrollian poem Jabberwocky into French, Antonin Artaud realized that this nonsense amounts to destructuring in order to conserve.

Raphaël Lecoquierre's work is part of this stylistic oscillation. Paradoxically, his pieces show that their meaning is not a matter of knowledge, but of experience.
Although they technically and formally respond to historicized architectural and artistic archetypes (such as the column, the fresco, the painting), Lecoquierre's works refer above all to our body's place in space: they grow, shrink, spread out. A logical way of showing that, depending on a given environment, reactions and points of view imply a certain geometry. Through her work, the artist questions the place of the subject in perception, and turns formal logic into an almost personal issue.

Seemingly minimal, Raphaël Lecoquierre's tirelessly repeated gestures are more in the vein of the color field. The artist's body is totally involved in the stratification of the multiple layers he prepares, coats, sands and polishes, meticulously respecting the rules of his medium. Attested as far back as ancient Mesopotamian times, the fresco technique appears to be the first means used to represent a lasting image, inscribed in the stone itself. While marble is immortal, often considered to be alive because of the veins that run through it, Venetian stucco, a technique popularized by Palladio at the end of the Renaissance, has a pastiche, trompe l'oeil character, aiming to imitate the raw material.

What we think it is isn't, it's something else, a reflection. Why does a raven look like a desk? What if the columns were actually hatboxes?
While they bring together the symbolic, the imaginary and the real, Raphaël Lecoquierre's pieces eschew narrative. Radical, they reject reality and refuse to accept it.

Beyond the mirror, they show us a passage from the real to the marvelous, inviting us to celebrate a birthday that isn't a birthday at all.

Léane Lloret

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1 Gilles Deleuze, Logique du sens, Paris, Minuit, 1969, pp. 111-112
2 Antonin Artaud, LArve et lAume : Tentative anti-grammaticale contre Lewis Carroll
3 Sophie Mouquin. Pour Dieu et pour le Roi : lélaboration dune symbolique du marbre sous lAncien Régime. Marbres jaspés de Saint-Rémy et de la région de Rochefort, 2012.


Nūbēs
, the first book devoted to his work, documents the eponymous series begun in 2010 following the discovery of photographs washed up on the shore of the North Sea. The works in this corpus are produced using a singular process making use of a vast collection of vernacular analog photographs. Images of families, landscapes and other instruments of memory gleaned and accumulated by the artist are dissolved to extract their colored substance. The pigments collected are incorporated into Venetian stucco and used as raw material for the creation of motifs which, freed from their figurative referents, transcend memories, memories and representations to give rise to nebulous landscapes. Conceived and published by Éditions Sylvain Courbois in co-edition with Casino Luxembourg as part of the Tills in 2023, the book presents a collection of paintings, sculptures and in-situ installations, highlighting the many facets of their production process, never before revealed.


Presentation of the sculpture multiple 
Nūbēs (edition of 25) and launch of the limited edition of the book, in the presence of Editions Sylvain Courbois on Saturday February 24 5-7pm.

 

Raphaël Lecoquierre (b. 1988) is a French artist who lives and works in Brussels. His work is intimately linked to the photographic image, both its suggestive power and its inherent material properties, which he transforms using experimental and unusual processes. At once minimal, poetic and radical, his work questions our relationship with the visible and explores the mechanism of memory, through a reversal of representation. Drawing inspiration from a range of pictorial and conceptual traditions, his works oscillate between figuration and abstraction, expanding the viewer's gaze by giving free rein to the most diverse interpretations.