A — The success of bi-phonic painting
I have always looked for an equilibrium between the abstract and the real within painting to find new ideas. In 1991 I discovered this part of the text ‘The spiritual within art’ which inspired me:
‘Our age is that of the great separation between the real and the abstract, and of the thriving of the latter. But as the new realism is transformed, and develops a world view that for now still escapes us, it will blossom into fruition, perhaps a harmony will begin to resound between the abstract and the real: a new celestial revelation. But it will be a pure biphony, as opposed to the blend of the two ‘opposites’ that we currently see.’ (Wassily Kandinsky)
As a result of this incitation by the master, I have searched for a pictorial biphony; a means of painting simultaneously suggestive of an abstract (or spiritual) resonance and of a figurative (or personal) resonance, through a form of technical (or temporal) interactivity.
The pupil of the eye adopts as many different dimensions as there are differences in the degrees of light and dark within the objects before it. (Leonardo da Vinci)
This anatomical understanding of the eye and its reflexes appeared to be an opportunity for a new form of abstraction:
Any concave point seems darker from outside than from within. This is why in the light the pupil strongly contracts, and in the dark it dilates; visual power decreases along with the pupil. Similarly, it increases according to the enlargement of the pupil. (Leonardo da Vinci)
This reality of nature observed by Leonardo da Vinci — and largely observable nowadays through the automatic settings of cameras — allows for new pictorial perspectives.
As the body is curious by nature, it always adjusts its pupil according to the brightest area. It adapts and changes form in order to understand. This phenomenon can be stimulated to guide the movement of the eye of the spectator, and thus preventing a perfect understanding of the subject and amplifying the element of imperceptibility. The imbalance of contrast is one opportunity for visual movement.
Biphonic painting allows for a precise, clear figurative that is simultaneously disturbed by imbalances of contrast and light, giving possibility to the abstraction of the image. In this painting technique, abstraction is the radical imperceptible of the shadow. The reflections of the colours in the blue shadows change and vary according to the angle and quality of the surrounding light. At times only the traces left by the knife can be seen. These traces sculpted within shadow favour the lines while battling the colours which are sometimes hidden by the brilliance of the spatula, sometimes muted by the paintbrush. The interactive light becomes the new element of the pictorial imbalance, placing the spectator in the collective context of the abstract-real effect.
By working on a precise image, hard to distinguish for the human eye (in part due to exaggerated contrast, in part due to the dazzling reliefs of the surface and the overstated darkness — emphasised in blue), I manage to encourage the spectator to move in front of the tableau, without ever truly satisfying him: this is vibrationist imperceptibility.
The dark colour is seen as black although it is in fact blue. The light and the position of the spectator change the chromatic perceptions of the image. From afar, one can only see the abstract forms created by the banks of sand. The size of the canvases, varying from 80x80cm to 200x200cm, encompasses the spectator on a human scale.
B — The semi-failings of polyphonic painting
The polyphony here is more difficult as relief and brightness have less power when faced with a multitude of colours. Abstraction of the image is less conclusive here, as the figurative forms impose themselves more easily.
Those examples show the difficulties of pictorial polyphony. The painting is hypnotic as it is difficult to observe in its entirety. Harmony here is possible due to the dominating red-pink tones which unify the scene as a sunset. A certain back and forth between dimensions does occur, but the figurative force is greater. This is therefore a part-failing of the attempt. There is however a musical vibration: it is impossible to grasp the image in its entirety.