" All the Arts remember " said Alain.

Who amongst us has never tried, for his own simple pleasure, to grab the object before him and to fix it on a page, the ephemeral vision which may become an " echo-place " for the memory ?

The power to fix the ephemeral in the durable, confers to its owner an inexplicable mastery of things. This is one of the reasons for which drawing has for so long been my passion, my engulfing obsession.

I have a memory, as a child, having drawn into space, fingers closed around an imaginery pencil, the portrait of a women in front of me in a train or a peculiar silhouette profiled at a distance. Like shadow-boxing, I sometimes train myself using this maintenance exercice of original instinct, that I would like to combine whit a daily and rigorous approach to my drawing, to access maybe , this mastery.

For more than twenty years I draw with India-ink and pens, very old instruments of writting and drawing - Cennino-Cennini, in his treatise about painting devotes two chapters to this subjets - he says particularly :" this art is able to extract a lot of things from the mind ".

Ink drawing cannot deceive, it conceals nothing - neither repentance nor accident. It is an ascesis, a way toward rigour, a search of perfection, even if this is no longer in fashion and even criticised, " a burden or guilty conscience " as Milan Kundera said.

My pens don't come from reed, roostery or goose, they are metallics pens of the schoolboys of the past, fixed by necessity on the end of long pen-holders that I make, which allow me to establish a distance, a " background " on the picture space.

This distance obliges body and mind to be both invested, to make one with the tool - whose weight is negligable and whose stiffness means that the slightest arm's move produces a tiny line at two meters from the eye.

In the silence of the work-place, the rasping of the pen defines breaths rhythm, which is sometimes suspended to hold bach a line trying to escapa - this is the problem, is it not, to attainthe point of delicate balance between two antagonisms : the calculated and the spontaneous.

When the concentration is intense, I have sometimes the feeling that is my nail itself which grazes the milky skin of the paper and makes an incision like in a ritual of scarification.

I like to draw at dusk in the twilight : in the half-light contrasts become more pronounced and allow light to splash and recule.

Without colors, it is the lines accumulation which provides the register of subtle shades which come up very slowly from light to dark without chance of remorses.

With the distance, the gaze records the slightest shaking of grey generated by the addition of a single line.

The subjects I approach are related to life, to movements, to gestures, those of bodies entangled, caressing, loving or fighting, those of the passions which drive them.

Can the artist be the judge of the sign value of his own production ?. Is it possible to him to dissociate staddlings of the memory from those of observation, interpretation of desires, phamtasms, or from peculiar expression?.

For a long time, I have thought that the organisation of my drawing's spaces was governed only by the order of lights and shadows, that the subjetcs were just excuses, and that the meaning could just be simply plastic. Whenever we examine the spectacle that is life, or our own inward geography, the drawing discloses the "fibre de la pensée ".

Every new picture appears suddenly from one's heart and accumulates, part of a peculiar universe which elaborates itself, changes and works within the rules of its own dynamism, out of fashion's way or academism.

Every drawing is a new voyage, the one who draws knows this peculiar emotion, mixture of anxiety and jubilation which comes with the mark of the tool on the paper's space, up to this passage where the invisible becomes visible, when the picture emerges from the field of elusive complexity into the one of understanding.

When the trap is layed for the gazes and the dreams.


Renaud Archambault de Beaune - june 1991

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