Marc Biétry


« For me art remains linked to its origin: being»

 J. Gerz (works on the holocaust and « Leben »)

  My artistic work follows apparently a very eclectic path, for a quick glimpse at my site will give the impression of very different rescarches with very few links among themselves. However, one notion appears, recurrent, insistant, covering my plastic creations. It's the notion of relationship. It has been, i got conscious about it in realising this site, the essential problematic of my work for twenty years. Can we imagine a picture/painting without an " observer" ("regardeur") a piece of music without a listener, a text without a reader? This relationship is a space between, an interface that gets into touch, "the inframince" would have said Marcel Duchamp.

  Inframince : aesthetic concept developed by Marcel Duchamp for whom it generally characterised a thickness ("épaisseur"), a separation, a difference, an interval between two things, in general little perceptible.                                The inframince qualifies a distance or a difference that you cannot perceive, but that you can only imagine. The best example of it, is the "infra-mince separation between the bang of a gun (very near) and the mark of appearance of the mark of the bullet on the target". (Definition found on the internet, which hasn't been signed; it tackles precisely the notion that concerns my research).

In the series of paintings " The Archeologiques " this inframince space is a physical space concerning the coats of paintings, the layers composing them, all the tableaux underneath the visible surface that nourished the final work; Picasso was refering to this in G. H. Clouzot's film "Le Mystère Picasso"; but it is also relational spaces that connect us to history and above all to the history of art. We are made of our souvenirs, individual and collective, especially cultural, but also of the ones that are still to come. Taken in a continual relationship between what we are composed of and what is going to become elements of our composition, the present, is an angular ctone between our past and our future.

Drawing is the bringing into day light of a shaping unconscious, an essay in structuring nothingness, a putting into order of chaos. An inframince space under the pictural layer linking us to a bottom of which the painter becomes an archeologist. Historical archeology in a pictural depth, but also conceptual in an individual thought. The painting as a surface to excavate to make appear all the relational constituants of our presence into the world, history, thoughts, collective unconscious or personal, these are the "Les Archéologiques"

" The artist is in a continuity..." P. Picasso

The series of the "Auras" whether it be in painting, sclpture or for a public order also questions this relationship between the inside, the inner being, its thought and the outside world. The halo, as an abstract object, from byzantine religious painting on to the Renaissance accompanies the development of realistic representation. It corresponds to an inframince space which pulls us to another dimension. Representation of a conceptual object, of a divergent space in the more and more naturalistic figuration of painting of Giotto, among others, it opens up to an imaginary and religious mental world, to another dimension. An unreal world is intimately juxtaposed to a more and more realistic representation of reality. It is not a representation but the symbolic presentation of an idea, the idea of holiness. It connects the terrestrial to the divine. In a perspectivist space in construction, where the world is becoming a succession of measurable elements, a un-measurable space is opening, an immaterial space.

"The halo is the apparition of a far away object whatever the distance, the halo is mastering us."

W. Benjamin (L’œuvre d’art à l’ère de sa reproductibilité technique)

        "The translucide mountains" on translucid papers are connecting a drawing technique to a "support", the one modifying the other in a relationship of cause and effect. There is action (painting) and reaction (distortion of translucid paper, passage from plan to relief by the action of water). These distortions have an effect on representation. They amplify the new-born image which represents the volumes of the mountain and thus become paper reliefs. It catches the light and sends it back like a rock face after it has been treated with "caparol". What really matters for a work of art, is not what it shows but what it transforms. Could this transformation become a symbol of the action of art? Can we give to painting, to drawing the ability to be touched of becoming sculpture, to come in our three-dimensional reality? Between painting and the spectator, one finds this relationship, this inframince space that i keep looking for in my different researches. These paintings are presented on the wall, fixed a few centimetres from it by their upper part, their ensemble remaining free to evolve according to the movements of the air and the glints of light. A kind of skin connecting two spaces to bring them close to each other in a conceptual fusion.

"Drawing is closer to sculpture than painting"  Rodin

        Mountain drawings with Indian ink, on wood this time, form another series "the extractions" where the representation of the mountain is a excuse/pretext for questioning the relationship of the picture to the spectator's space. The figurative representation expresses the part of abstraction which composes it through its relationship to a real world. Another perception of the pictural representation defining its elf as a conceptualisation of different spaces conceiving our imaginary universe.

« The only true reality is the one that men have created in image. The thing that I am looking at comes to life as much as it makes me come to life.» M. Merleau Ponty

     "La peau du Monde (l'un d'eux)" is a series of photos which put forward the skin as a relational interface. This skin served as a support for writing, for thinking and also for drawing and painting in the depths of history and the corners of geography. This skin refers to the surface of the painting/canvas, i.e. to the surface of the world, the world of expression, of mankind. The footprint of the animal becomes the surface of being, [one of them (l'un d'eux)]. One becomes a footprint, the other one goes to the surface. Both of them can alternatively be identified to the other. The skin of a man or a woman, as an intermediary space between mankind and the rest of the world, is a metaphor by extension of the skin of the world. Each creative expression of mankind builds up this skin of the world.

 « A man was struck by a rock that he had watched, the rock hasn't moved. »

Henri Michaux

        "The skin of towns"/ "La peau des villes" another recent photographie suite, attempts to connect the body of an individual in the city with what this one is made of, its cultural history, i.e. the different creative thoughts which have occupied it. The city is above all a cultural construction, mental, sensitive, a vibration of history in a present architectural case; a music instrument, an orchestra that one has to know how to listen to. Walking in the city looking for plaques can be compared to walking on the city skin like an animal walking on the skin of a human being in "La peau du Monde (l'un d'eux)". It's "La rêverie du promeneur solitaire" travelling through a different dimension of the city, this one being connected to the being of the stroller in all its depth. Anne Cauquelin speaks very well about it in "Le site et le paysage". She presents:

«The place as a story»

                 « Places belong to another logic than that of a map; they are peculiar, refering to time, to memory, each one having its own individuality, wrapping of bodies which are also themselves bodies of memory and language, they are hardly graphically descriptive. Their " depth" which keeps them more attached to a culture than to a nature propels them towards an iconic representation, such as it tries to produce a similar sign. And it's really as features of icons that these places appear on the map. They cut through the surface of their sudden appearance with a caption: here is a monument, the name of a battle, an abbey, the coast of wines and that of shipwrecks, churches, castles, viewing points, curiosities. As many details, individuations linked to a narrative. Or the place as a story."

               These narratives are the substance of our personalities, of our stories, of our beings. The narratives which I have chosen to make crop up are the ones that are made up of thoughts, of creations, of poetical approaches of the complexity of the world; they are the foundations of our carnal and our psychological identity. Man kind, identified in its empathic version. This empathy, "which is the faculty to identify with someone, to feel what they feel", which transforms this identification into a space of contact, into an "inframince" space. Between the skin, as a sensitive surface and as an "auratic" surface of the individual, and his/her thought in its global cultural version symbolized by an author commemorised on a city wall, mark of the past, a dialogue takes place full of hope in the midst of urban constructions.


 « La trace est l’apparition d’une proximité, quelque lointaine que puisse être ce qui l’a laissé.

L’aura est l’apparition d’un lointain, quelque proche que puisse être ce qui l’évoque.

Avec la trace, nous nous emparons de la chose.

Avec l’aura, c’est elle qui se rend maîtresse de nous. »

Walter Benjamin

(L’œuvre d’art à l’ère de sa reproductibilité technique)

    The greatest satisfaction is not in possessions, but in the understanding of the world. I believe that my work functions in this perspective, and tries to highlight this thought while questioning it. one has to make the world vibrate and not press it like an orange; its survival depends on it, and it is the role of the artist to orchestrate these vibrations.


                                                                                                                Marc Biétry


AVANT 1980....2004