Joel Fisher

Galerie Farideh Cadot

Joel Fisher’s recent works on paper sum up nine months of graphic meditation. From the first to the last pieces in these series, Fisher strove to make this work sensitive and eloquent: if it does not exhaust all the possibilities proposed by the connection between stroke and surface, it defines the outcome of their relationship.

Fisher begins by making the paper: he sets a particular value on this activity because it allows him to obtain distinct surfaces with irregularities, faults, and luminosity. In this way, each sheet that comes out of his studio challenges him with a unique and irreplaceable territory that, in large part, influences the movement of his hand.

Next, Fisher’s procedure is characterized by his division of the sheet: but the lines continue on both sides of the tear, forming one pattern that crosses over into two distinct worlds. Visual and conceptual instability is introduced into the geometric organization of the drawing. Fisher considers the availability of white space to be the opening of an apparently neutral experimental field rather than a void. His surfaces are already loaded with reality to be uncovered by the artist’s gesture.

But if Fisher has undertaken an ascetic reflection on the emergence of the “figural” aspect of drawing, the works that provide evidence of this are of an uncommon intensity and expressive power; they make this revelation of absence and loss the instrument of a profound jubilation.

And when he further widens the field of possibility by imagining a connection between his drawings and three-dimensional space he resolutely pledges himself to an activity in which humor is fundamental. The humor that he calls on serves to reveal the meaning that he wishes to give to his inversion of perspective: the drawing is not forced to confront the data of reality, but it does find its materialization in objects provided by reality.

Wilhelm Wörringer theorized that no natural object can serve as a model for abstraction; Fisher pushes this idea to the point where the abstract proposition is used as a model for the natural object. Fisher’s pieces “translating” his works on paper into three dimensions represent one conceivable version of their common matrix: the reliefs thus constructed make obvious the depth of the graphic imprints.

Fisher thus sets up a personal catalogue of possible transfers from a plane to 3-D space: intermingled curves are transcribed by knotted cords, an arc of a circle by being inscribed in a block of stone, others by being carved—complete with their shadows—into pieces of wood, or by being identified with a manufactured object—for example a coat hanger. By using a variety of materials, liberating an unlimited network of analogies, Fischer traverses a certain section of art history to relive the plastic preoccupations of the constructivists, formalists, etc., or to reinscribe Marcel Duchamp’s irony on the axis of his own mockery.

The plaster drop suspended above the viewer’s head and Fisher’s drawing of the same, shows exactly what this proceeding is like: he never hesitates to submit his acts and decisions to the trial of a playful excess. Here, perhaps, is the evidence of his authenticity.

Gérard-Georges Lemaire