Rémy Hysbergue

Galerie Philippe Casini

Since the ’90s, Rémy Hysbergue has painted in series. He considers a series completed once he has exhausted the possibilities of the chosen protocol, after which he either abandons or modifies it. What connects one series to the next is the underlying inquiry, which bears at once on the means and effects of painting: the exploration of color, variations on the actions of covering or unveiling, the occupation of the surface, the potential of materials. For the last two years Hysbergue has been working on panels made of Komacel, a PVC foam used in construction. It is both solid and light and provides a perfectly smooth, matte white surface that’s quite unreflective. By contrast, the colors he’s been using are iridescent: They reflect the light and react to its variations as well as to the movements of the viewer.

The series “Reflet” (Reflection), 2001, and “Peinture” (Paint), 2001, seem atypical for Hysbergue in that they explore the traditional effects of painting conceived as covering and illusion. They result from the superimposition of fairly regular intersecting layers brushed in tones of blue, violet, and pink, but in comparison to previous works they give more latitude to the gesture and more initiative to the material. Color and light are thus seemingly sculpted by passages of the brush that, depending on the reflections, suggest shifting expanses of sky or water, indistinct spaces in which the gaze is lost.

In Distraction, 2001, Hysbergue deposits color and scrapes it away, adding and subtracting in the same gesture. The process is simple: In the middle of a large squeegee he spreads a single color, and the work is engendered by the squeegee’s movement across a canvas already covered in paint—a single pass for the smaller works and two parallel passes for the larger ones. Chance becomes a partner in the work’s creation. The resulting image varies according to the duration of motion, various phases (stops and starts), and pressure applied and is based on the interplay of plenitude and void, the center being empty while color is concentrated at the edges, modulated by the effect of veils and streaks that make up the shading off and shifting of the surface.

The series “Vide fait” (Done void; the title is a play on vite fait, “done quickly”), 2001–2002, reverses the balance in favor of an emptiness ruptured only at the margins by a few lines and braids of thick, vivid colors set down with a syringe. The work is animated by irregular networks in which the marks made with the syringe are sometimes repeated with a brush, offering countless paths along which to feel the swelling of space through the concentration of matter. Hysbergue, trained at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris, explores the possibilities of painting in an approach that draws on multiple sources (fashion, comic books), between the too full and the almost empty, between overload and distillation.

Guitemie Maldonado

Translated from French by Jeanine Herman.