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Pascal Vinardel - Citations

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[...] Vinardel suspends his gesture, he knows the tenuity of the moment. He knows that one single brush stroke is overflowing and the magic disappears. This unbearable light of dawn splashes us, which ennobles every hut, transfigures the banal. Hold your breath, your hand, to tame the invisible, to be this smuggler of furtive images, the silk of a butterfly wing.

This city, which the painter shows you, like a thousand others, like no other, exists only in the collective memory. "It's a palace," says one, "rather a monastery" does the other "Not at all, it's a mausoleum" asserts the third. All reach out, in doubt, they want to reassure themselves. But the scenery folds down, becomes a hill, a grove, changes color, and they never reach it. "I know this house" begins again. "I was born there," says his friend. "In this room, I loved," murmurs the last. "Yes," they say in chorus, "this light lit up my window."

Again they reach out and touch the wall. Nothing. Only the ocelli of dust remain in the hollow of the palms.

"Twilight excites madmen," said the author of Les Fleurs du Mal. They are rather dazed, the fogged look of who has lost his bearings, missed the last train. The memory of the infirm wavers, but the city is there, leaning against the chiaroscuro, and "from then on, always and now. Have they lived between these walls, or wandering Jews, have they only brushed against the City as one caresses a lover?

The travelers sit down, exhausted. Go vaguely to wait. Wait for what ? The sea to rise, the day to finish, who knows. The night comes, overwhelming them little by little.

We can distinguish only the white wall of the monastery. Abrasive light, this white wall blinds them but they do not blink. They want to believe that this bare clarity is buried pain, their amnesia abolished and childhood found again. Night, it is the light that has frozen, coagulated, pregnant with old scents. She forgives everything and tends her sheet to them.

All these reified cities do not appear on any map. Ys, Ur, Babylon, remain in the collective memory only because they exerted an undeniable fascination on the rare travelers who, like Marco Polo, crossed them, as inadvertently.

These researchers of the absolute, no one has heard any more about them... Or, thousands of kilometers away, in a port at the end of the world, on the edge of a landfill, those vague, forgotten beings who have in common a gloomy look, an iris faded from having scrutinized the Syrtes too much or seen the flames a little too close. Their narrowed eyes no longer dream of these distant thebais, because once in their life, they saw.

I see you skeptical, you wonder: these cities, these furtive silhouettes, these lives, these shadows are they real? What does it matter if they have helped you live?

Pascal Vinardel is an unclassifiable painter, but like the greatest, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Velasquez, others, his paintings exude a part of mystery irreducible to the finest analysis. One day, no doubt, this artist will have his exegetes whose scholarly gloss will stun the vulgar. But if they have not been able to see, put their footsteps in those of the painter, their intention, then, will be nothing but monkey money.

Gilles Ravry

(The light of dream, quote from the text of the catalogue 2017)

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