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12 janvier 2009 1 12 /01 /janvier /2009 20:34

The ripping out of desire excised by the gouge.

By Frédéric Bouglé, June 2006


Whilst rummaging through the rubble of his old brain, Marc Brunier-Mestas brought out a

few indelible little monsters, and gave a modern appearance to their invisible powers.

Whether essentially in engravings or even in sculpture, it is through feminine and masculine

figurines that he explores the figure that he believed he knew best, or the one he is

learning to know. I will leave it up to the individual to decide on his own interpretation,

taking into account that here nothing is hidden.


A little character thumps inside the head in everyone’s psyche.


As the Brazilians say: “When God eats in secret, the Devil hurries to eat the platas”. In the

allegorical twinship of good and evil, a little character acts like a serving maid, thumps

inside the head in everyone’s psyche. In Jungian terminology, the “anima”, psychic phenomena,

the dark and unknown extent of self are personified in bipolar figures, sometimes

positive, sometimes negative, sometimes she, sometimes he . According to Kierkegaard,

“the path is not difficult it is the difficult that is the path”, here it is the path that leads to

forbidden niches inside ourselves. Arm-wrestling with himself as if trying to force his way

in, a dwarf holds up his masked face. And when he erects his phallus, equips himself with

an outrageous dentition, makes himself up to look like an austere butterfly or bird, hidden

appetites of an unquenched desire are represented . Cultural references make their

incongruous way in, like this little man who is aroused by a bird, probably a reference to one

of the mysteries of the grotto of Lascaux.


A bohemian singer claimed that it was necessary to cut oneself off from one’s roots to be

better able to walk. One of the engravings represents a head walking on its nose, another

one shows a nose walking on its tip, and another one suggests a washing machine equipped

with a pair of legs and feet. Like Alien throwing itself at human faces, little winged sculptures

don fishhook tails as if to catch the desired prey. And if an open-mouthed figure spits out

a black cat over here, is it to exorcise itself of an unfortunate remark? And what about this

character with rabbit ears who is upside down? Slotted into a tight frame in his unconventional

position, he seems to be proud of it. This other will have his head cut off, just like the

young Saint Genès on his Thiernese rock, and that one, a gargantuan giant god grips a nearby

black cloud to quench his thirst, whilst a series of female dwarves urinate like bad fairies

on what is remaining of the white paper. A Pinocchio with his nose reincarnated, wears on

his royal cock a pewter crown; elsewhere another one wiggles his bottom like the jester in

a sick game, whilst this tree with its broken branches is more furious and tormented than

if it had been engraved by Dix and Kokoschka, or even by Fabien Verschaere.

This deserted space between soul and human urges.


“Everything is grey”, said Mitterrand. With these prints, everything is less balanced. Only our

most fidgety dreams enjoin us these worlds of ripping out. Nevertheless I let you not

represent them as you do not have the same talent. “People need everything, what people

need is incredible. But they don’t want the truth”, also observed a writer. However that may

be, as everybody does not know, art is not meant to reassure, but to express truths that very

few people can formulate. Here, it is a matter of engraving the unfathomable irrational bustling

about between soul and human urges, something mixing with the riffraff in this deserted

space.


Midgets, sylphs, homunculi maybe ?


These disturbing gnomes that the artist takes pleasure in creating, in the very exercise of his

practice, comes within and revives a cabalistic mythology, and the subjective exploration

of the inside that concerns it. Marc Brunier-Mestas does not court madness because if the

artist’s unconscious is strong, that does not mean that his conscious is weak. There will then

be, for a wise soul , neither an irruption of the uncontrolled unconscious nor a swallowing

up of the conscious that would cause an unsteady self to collapse. No, and so much the

better. So who are these germs of semi-human beings with shrunken misshapen bodies

that Marc Brunier-Mestas hunts down with his graver? Midgets, nixies, sylphs, ugly water

sprites ? Nasty little spirits who keep the treasure of his art and knowledge in return for

their escapades?

 

 

“Homunculi” maybe, these harmful small beings with supernatural

powers that medieval alchemists claimed they could create? Those ones enter the heart or

the brain of a human being to control him. The word derives from the Greek word “homo”

which means the similar one or the “similar little one”, the same, that is why the homunculus

is a miniature of the person who created it. You don’t believe me? Let me give you some

advice: if you own some of these strangely haunted engravings, you had better keep them

imprisoned under a glass frame.


According to Sade, if we let desire go, we all become criminals.

Reptilian animals, insects or snakes, birds or humans, all of them are made out of flesh, in

the three kingdoms of nature which keep them inside a thick black frame. The Ancients

often represented gods and goddesses with attributes or figurines. The engravings, cards of

a unique tarot, act on others just as they act on the artist himself, determining complex signs

whose opaque signifier is beyond conventional understanding. “Dream is the aquarium of

the night”, wrote Victor Hugo, an engraved night that the artist sounds out in black and

white. Just like an adulterated vodka in an unwell stomach, the work in question scours the

unconscious if need be. According to Sade, if we let desire go, we all become criminals ;

desire contravenes its crime here in the ripping out of lino excised by the gouge.


Frédéric Bouglé is an art critic, member of the AICA

 

 

 


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