Djamel Tatah

Galerie Liliane & Michel Durand-Dessert

Just inside the entrance, to the right, hung a very tall canvas. Its brick-colored ground was not smooth, but rather traversed by various traces: The brush marks revealed underlying layers of other colors, and the space thus created was at once tactile and vibrant, thanks to the way the matte mixture of oil and wax used by Djamel Tatah absorbs and diffuses the light that hits its surface. Cut off by the right edge of the canvas, a woman stands on the threshold. Just like her, the visitor entered the exhibition as if breaking in: transfixed for a moment, as if cautious to approach these half-length or full-length portraits of relatively young men and women, alone or in groups—dark masses against intensely colored grounds (red, green, blue, or orange), their pale faces and hands surging up, seemingly gripped by some obsession. But soon enough one was seized by these vast, apparently empty

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