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Emmanuelle Lequeux - Salon de Montrouge

“The shape of the sea is ever-changing, as we all know. But the land is also being reshaped, ravaged by the onset of the Anthropocene. In this new era, what perspective could there possibly be for a contemporary landscape painter? Paul Vergier, a former student at the Fine Arts Academies of Marseille and Paris, was confronted by this predicament at a very young age in his native Provence, and soon decided to tackle the problem head-on. The lone horizon to delineate his canvases is formed by greenhouses, selected from the legions that have overrun the Earth with the firm intention of feeding every last one of us. But the young painter imagines them in a more familial context, intentionally more romantic than the industrialized dimensions of their Spanish counterparts. This extremely singular solution enables him to “paint landscapes without a landscape,” as he explains. Old cans, tarpaulins, decrepit trellises, crates, climbing plants, piles of equipment: each detail enshrined in one of the transparent plastic shelters that he obsessively hunts down. Protected by these fabric chrysalides, the plant world is subsistent at best, and never invasive. It is above all a “technical fascination for veiled light forms” that engrosses the artist. Intrigued by the idea of exploring this “closed, stifling and veiled” universe, he makes wonders out of the slightest interstice in order to “create a surface in the surface.” An unsettling emotion is produced by Vergier’s painting due to the sophistication of his brushwork, which so stunningly depicts the myriad folds of the shelters, the paradoxical beauty of the play of sun, and the borderline transparency evoked by the liquid colors as they dilute and strain towards realism. But the emotion is also due to the silhouettes that sometimes appear in these interiors. A man reads a book, another stares off into space...the guardians of a temple where time stands still. Workers with no work, whose lethargy seems to be the only possible form of resistance to the outer world, looming dangerously just beyond the frame. Under their remote gaze, a whole world continues to elegantly unfold, free from the earth.”

Emmanuelle Lequeux, February 22, 2016, text from the catalogue of the 61st Montrouge Art Fair, page 118

translation: Jeffrey Probst

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