PHILIPPE LOUGUET

FRANCE

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I was born in 1948. I joined the school of fine arts in 1967, to study architecture there. Then I practiced and taught architecture for forty years, alongside design. I have always painted, alongside these activities. My pictorial production has intensified over the past thirty years and I started exhibiting in 2001: in France, in Belgium, in the Netherlands, in Portugal, in Italy, in the USA. Today, I paint daily ... I plan to paint everything, a bit like Van Gogh wanted. I paint in oil and acrylic, depending on the moment, and sometimes putties take place in the painting, depending on what I want to express of reality. For a long time I painted on different supports: paper, hardboard, canvas. For some time I have been painting exclusively on canvas. I returned to the classical means of painting to focus on the subject.

 

For a long time painting was for me a struggle between material and immaterial, or a revelation: what painting, material, reveals of the immaterial. In doing so, I placed myself in the tradition of the debate on the relationships of body and soul: "The body is the prison of the soul" (Michelangelo), "The eye, called window of the soul , is the main way by which our intellect can fully and magnificently appreciate the infinite work of nature "(Leonardo da Vinci)," ... sight makes the contented soul remain in the prison of the body, thanks to the eyes. .. ”(Rainer Maria Rilke), we could also cite Merleau-Ponty, the eye and the spirit, which recapitulates the whole debate. Without ever denying this position, which is rather a question that motivates research, I recently took a new step. It is indeed Nicolas De Staël that I am thinking of today. It took me a long time to understand that in reality De Staël was in the same debate (one could say that he was struggling in the same questioning). Indeed, De Staël did not want to be abstract. The more he advanced in painting, the less he thought of himself in abstraction, to the point that he made fun of the painters who had created the living room of new realities around Sonia Delaunay (he called them "The gang of the 'abstraction before'). De Staël wanted to tackle reality, to make it fit entirely into his painting. In his mind he was more and more a realistic painter (we remember the adventure of footballers). De Staël interpreted abstraction as a limitation (and in fact at the time it often functioned as a figure ban. The link between abstraction and spirituality discredited the figure ... too material). It was this limitation that he refused. I realize that I work exactly this way. The reason why I am by no means an abstract painter is that I have never left this issue of the relationship between material and immaterial. For me painting is the art par excellence which celebrates this enigma of Being: how matter (mud according to Dubuffet) can open onto the immaterial, illuminate it, bring it to light ... 'this is not a critique of abstraction. It's just that my work doesn't join her. I gradually discovered, which was already obvious for De Kooning, that De Staël, and in another way Pollock were not abstract painters, or in any case not in the sense of building an abstract system like Mondrian or Kandinsky (Theosophical painters). Tackling reality is not that simple (Barthes said it was a pest concept), it requires a certain rigor, because the interpretation of reality that painting gives must in no case be arbitrary. This is the whole point of the quest ... to bring reality into painting, to make it immortal, body and soul, is at this price. We have known for a long time that figuration has let the real escape by bogging it down in rhetorical issues (allegorical painting) ... as soon as figuration is foreclosed, other means must be invented. I seem to remember that Gilles Deleuze was talking about figural about Francis Bacon. The term figural art suits me well, at the moment when I am looking for a painting without artifice, without any trace of realism (as sometimes remains with Bacon) or rhetoric.

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