Paris – France
Given in reference to the technique of filtering light used in the cinema to obtain a nocturnal atmosphere in scenes shot in broad daylight, the title of the new exhibition that the Maubert Gallery is devoting to Nicolas Delprat immediately plunges us into the very cinematographic atmosphere of this pictorial work focused on lighting.
A cinematographic character through references and influences (David Lynch, Brian de Palma…), but also techniques and staging (formats, framing, sequencing, use of the off-screen…). No character, however, in these black paintings crossed by light, because what is staged is none other than the light. “To go up in light on the black” is how the artist describes his way of painting: always starting from the black, he manages, by successive coverings of the bottom, in very fine layers of paint (blue, white, pink…) diluted, to create a luminescent surface.
He “makes of his surface a vibratory extent, composed of constant exchanges between its various strata. The surface is a zone of outcrop where communicate what arrives from the bottom of the painting, and what also seems to arrive from outside and to be projected there, as on a screen,” explains Marguerite Pilven, curator of the exhibition.
Sometimes reproduced in an illusionist way, sometimes present in an allegorical way, the screen is at the heart of the work of Nicolas Delprat. Blind projection in 16mm where, not reflecting any image, it becomes a blue square on a black background in the manner of the most iconic monochromes of art history. In the series entitled James, in memory of the “luminous contamination” of a work by the great light sculptor, James Turell, he is a luminous surface. In the series Zone, a grid painted against the light, capable of stirring up all the extrapolations of the “imprisoned” viewer, who is encouraged to give free rein to his imagination…
Playing with the mystery and suspense of the fixed image – whose fictional power he multiplies tenfold by fragmenting it like so many “divided screens” or sequence shots – Delprat also plays with its ambivalence (at the border of the cinematographic field and the pictorial field, of the real and the fictional, of reality and abstraction…), through pictorial devices where “the viewer is caught in a threshold, a space between two that calls for a crossing of the gaze.”
Thus, in Coming Soon, the artist who puts us in front of a blue curtain (from Renaissance paintings to David Lynch’s Blue velvet, references abound), invites us to be a voyeur of an imaginary scene (of the scene hidden behind the curtain), but also to be a seer, to plunge into the very mystery of painting embodied here by this blue velvet panel, a virtuoso “piece of painting.”
20, RUE SAINT-GILLES, PARIS III
APRIL 6 TO MAY 20