Michel Carmantrand, 2021

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Michel Carmantrand Rarely but from time to time i use books with black hardcover, Moleskine style.
Rarely but from time to time i use books with black hardcover, Moleskine style. The biggest ones are 64x42cm and contain 100 pages (sheets), the smaller ones, like this one, 30x22cm. Given my ambivalent relationship to timeline it is always an adventure. In one case, for a large one, i only kept the cover (cut out) and i'm still very happy with it today. In this case the starting rule was not to look back during the process (memory implying oblivion), and the rule at the end was to keep only the 'best'. So this poor notebook was reduced to the essentials: ten works out of forty. Funny to think that it took three months to complete it, and that it all started with a hat image. But perhaps the funniest part of all this is that with 40 works or 10, it's the same worth. The sheets that have been removed from this notebook are invisible. Which doesn't mean that these invisible pages are worthless. For example, they were all necessary for the creation of the preserved works. Or because the fact that they have been withdrawn indicates the worth attributed to those that remain. But also because their disappearance creates the scansion, the rhythm of the notebook in its current and final state. That they have disappeared is therefore essential, and the trace of their disappearance testifies physically, concretely and visually of their importance. This provided, of course, that one believes in the reality of what has been told, and written here. Because one could just as easily say that i did only ten works and that those which are not there anymore were only blank pages. Isn't the worth based on belief. Or is not the worth a kind, a part of the belief. One last little thing is that after having observed the rule of the ten i found that one of the pages wasn't quite at the level and i removed it. Nine.

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Michel Carmantrand RESTRAINED Michel Carmantrand RESTRAINED BURNING, 185x185cm (72.8x72.8"), acrylic paint and oil on canvas.
RESTRAINED BURNING, 185x185cm (72.8x72.8"), acrylic paint and oil on canvas.

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Michel Carmantrand Grouping II, 2021.
Grouping II, 2021.

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Michel Carmantrand PICTORIAL MOTIF, 185x185cm (72.8x72.8"), diluted lacquer paint, acrylic and oil on canvas, 2021-2020.

At the end of the End, a few months ago, late 2020, after having completed it, achieved it, looked at it, watched it, suspected, observed, auscultated, weighed, measured, questioned, contemplated, admired it and saw that that was good, i photographed the painting, carefully wrapped it in cosy bubble sheets, neatly stored it away and posted ITS Image on Instagram in order to celebrate ITS eternal glory.
However, a few weeks later, i began to think about it again and was seized with a slight feeling of sporadic discomfort ...
But he didn't unwrap the painting.
And that uneasy feeling grew and grew and didn't leave him in peace anymore, since it was coming back, and back, and back ...
But he didn't unwrap the painting.
Finally, he couldn't stop thinking about it: he had got a doubt!
And thirteen Sundays later, one Sunday night before the Monday he had a dream in the middle of the night and he stood on top of a bare mountain and a loud voice telling him that the right side was weak, flabby, lazy, and so on ... So, coming down from the mountain, he added a thin ribbon of blue, straight and strict in its way, which extracts the negative counterform and increased the participation of the shapes to the whole of the surface (or even better, rather the reverse).
And he saw that that was good.
PICTORIAL MOTIF, 185x185cm (72.8x72.8"), diluted lacquer paint, acrylic and oil on canvas, 2021-2020.


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Michel Carmantrand NINFA DISSIPATA, 185x185cm (72.8x72.8"), diluted lacquer paint and oil on canvas.
NINFA DISSIPATA, 185x185cm (72.8x72.8"), diluted lacquer paint and oil on canvas.


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Grouping


Michel Carmantrand Grouping 2021

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Michel Carmantrand Untitled till now (totem), 185x185cm (72.8x72.8"), acrylic paint and oil on canvas.
Untitled till now (totem), 185x185cm (72.8x72.8"), acrylic paint and oil on canvas.



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Michel Carmantrand SPRING TULIPS, 2021-2019. Reworked these two ones.
SPRING TULIPS, 2021-2019. Reworked these two ones. From one painting to another, from one body of paintings to another, from one day or from one year to another, from one decade to another, it's like judo or this kind of stuff, placing accents, finding the sequences, making the articulations play in order to keep the overall gesture oriented towards its goal, which is also its beginning and or beginning again ... and so as not to fall into nature and into the odious authenticity of resemblance (without speaking here about figuration, but about repetition), introduce artificiality, detune, discard the eyes. "Blow your eye!" shouts Ahab, "There she blows" answers the sailor. What about "Blow your blows"? ... To make a painting that holds out, thinking not in terms of surface and two-dimensionality, but in terms of volume and in terms of speeds and or intensities. Speed here is not time, but movement in volume. If i manage to make velocities and / or intensities coexist in this volume, then everything is organized. To paint a square on a square of canvas is not to paint a square but to paint in a cube of various streams. To reach the depth of the surface, having to row against my tide, nobody's there. ... The form as a momentarily crystallized result of the deformations of its environment. A precipitate, a hollow shape, a negative of the signifier: the form as deformation of the prerequisites and the presuppositions that surround it, iced combustion. ... Last pic, Herman Melville.


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Michel Carmantrand TOPICAL RAIN (or The crownless king), 185x185cm (72.8x72.8"), diluted lacquer paint, acrylic paint and oil on canvas, 2021.

TOPICAL RAIN (or The crownless king), 185x185cm (72.8x72.8"), diluted lacquer paint, acrylic paint and oil on canvas.

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Michel Carmantrand TOTEMIC TALES, 170x170x5cm (67x67x2"), 2021. Gesso, acrylic paint, pigment and oil on canvas.  (Last pic, a still from F. W. Murnau's film, Tabu, 1931.)

TOTEMIC TALES, 170x170x5cm (67x67x2"), 2021. Gesso, acrylic paint, pigment and oil on canvas.  (Last pic, a still from F. W. Murnau's film, Tabu, 1931.)

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Michel Carmantrand GROUPING A
GROUPING A

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Michel Carmantrand I seize the opportunity (by its long curly hair) from this incongruous neighbourliness to present you the latest version of PARTITION II (alongside ROOSTER BY MOONLIGHT, which will be to be seen one of these days to come).

I seize the opportunity (by its long curly hair) from this incongruous neighbourliness to present you the latest version of PARTITION II (alongside ROOSTER BY MOONLIGHT, which will be to be seen one of these days to come). I wasn't entirely happy with what looked from a distance like a red line, so i partially transformed it. PARTITION II: 170x170x4cm (67x67x1.6"), priming white, pigments, sanded acrylic paint and oil sticks on linen on canvas, 2021-2020. This red line gave me a hard time ("donner du fil à retordre", in French). Drawn first with oil stick, it seemed later too easy to me, in its comfortable and attractive tension (the pretty chick in her short red skirt). So I decided to accentuate it, because i noticed that, often, one can attenuate, even cancel a power by increasing it, paradoxically. At least in painting. It was reworked with oil paint and brush; but then, the resulting visual cut of the plane seemed to be too natural and too sharp together. Also i added here and there red nodules (or small kidneys) which i crushed under a transparent flexible plastic sheet (soft tarpaulin for the protection of furniture in case of domestic painting), the ones oriented above of the line, the others below, in order to integrate and capture the entirety of the surrounding white space. But as it dawned on me one night a month later, thinking about it and then unwrapping it in the morning to confront my nocturnal impression with my daylight eye, it was not enough: the painting was still suffering from esthetico-moral stiffness in the joints (an old spinster with lips too thin and too tight on unspeakable secrets of no importance at all to anyone other than her) and i took the brush, modulated and widened a portion of the rouge below the "line", so that this addition does not come into too direct conjunction with the blue vertical. PARTITION, the first one, stands at the end of the set.


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Michel Carmantrand Daddy Mummy the maid and me (Papa, Maman, la bonne et moi), 30x24cm (12x9.5") each.

Daddy Mummy the maid and me (Papa, Maman, la bonne et moi), 30x24cm (12x9.5") each. Cutout, gesso, collage, acrylic sealant, acrylic paint and oil on linen. And now, let's trip over uneven steps in the stairs: Picabia was used to say that ideas are like shirts, that you have to change them from time to time (but to affirm this, it is necessary to have a thought, a single idea, underlying and intended for invisibility); finally, maybe a painting is this void, always the same, whose existence and location are designated by a painted shell, often made of wood, canvas, metal or other; the most interesting thing about sewing is that the thread disappears; and the snow snows.


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Michel Carmantrand MIND THE GAP (Tommot), 170x170x5cm (67x67x2"), acrylic paint, cut, spray, gesso and enamel on canvas.
MIND THE GAP (Tommot), 170x170x5cm (67x67x2"), acrylic paint, cut, spray, gesso and enamel on canvas. As some buddy kindly pointed out to me recently that from one painting to another we didn’t know to whom to attribute this one and that one, so much did they seem at first sight to come from different hands, i got the idea to write a word about that. Well, i don't have eternity, i have to take long strides if i want to carry out seriously my work as far as possible, which may partly explain some ellipses. Say these are shortcuts that allow me to go directly from one joint to another without having to travel the entire length of the bone. It is true that serial likeness may be a pertinent classical strategy, as it will be easier for a gallery to sell merchandise that looks like the one already sold, but actually i don't really care about getting rich and famous (famous people are constantly bothered, rich people are constantly tormented by the fear of becoming poor) and somehow i don't really care about figuring in the history of art for History is too often a lawyer lie ... But since my father passed i can pay the rent without having a job or depending on the sale of a work, it only matters to me that each painting expresses my intentions as well as possible, whose will testify the materials chosen and the method used for their implementation, which however will not become the subject of the painting, because i maintain the image and do not intend to reduce the result to its only components, even if i find that this approach is sometimes necessary to get rid of an overflow of sentimental sticky imagery. But to come back to this painting it's funny to note how this particular shape, here cut out of the canvas, has been following me in one way or another, since at least 2013, as can be seen in the other pics. In fact i painted a lot with language, explicitly, from 2013 to 2016 or so, incorporating words, letters, sentences into the images. But as i started using IG in October 2018, you can only find very few examples of this phase here on my feed. Mind the gap therefore constitutes an updated resurgence of these concerns.

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Michel Carmantrand The wheat field, 185x185cm (72.8x72.8"), lacquer paint on linen glued on canvas.
The wheat field, 185x185cm (72.8x72.8"), lacquer paint on linen glued on canvas.

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Michel Carmantrand THE PRESENT, 100x80x4cm (39.4x31.5x1.6"). Gesso, cut-out, collage, acrylic and oil on linen and on canvas.

THE PRESENT, 100x80x4cm (39.4x31.5x1.6"). Gesso, cut-out, collage, acrylic and oil on linen and on canvas. The Present is, was, part of a group of four paintings of identical size entitled "The Three Musketeers", made from 2019. These musketeers had gone through four transformations, and considering that in Alexandre Dumas' novel, the three musketeers became four, it seemed to me that i had to stop there. But considering recently this fourth metamorphosis, i decided to keep the one that i estimate to be the relevant one and to throw away or recycle the others (since the notion of present, of gift implies that of sacrifice, maybe). On reflection, and without this having been premeditated, any resemblance to real paintings, living or dead, would be uncertainly not necessarily coincidental, but probably if i had known it before, i wouldn't had prefer not to. And it is probable that beyond or below the painting by Claude Monet (detail last pic) which came back to my mind after finishing The Present, is hidden a different painting, by another painter. A more powerful echo, a covered source. This if, as i believe, painting desires painting, and as such desires the totality of existing and future painting. In this conception painting can only desire its past, its visible and its invisible. We can conceive of time as a category of the understanding, but also as a substance in the same way as air or water. Depending on the location, it can be moving or still, alive or stagnant, heavy or light, healthy or poisoned. We move in time as in air or in water, sometimes it opposes our advance, sometimes it pushes us. But this prattle is not to be taken (too) seriously, you know.


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Michel Carmantrand Grouping
Grouping

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Michel Carmantrand CARTHAGO DELENDA EST, 185x185cm (72.8x72.8"), gesso, pigments acrylic and oil paint on canvas.
CARTHAGO DELENDA EST, 185x185cm (72.8x72.8"), gesso, pigments acrylic and oil paint on canvas. This little halloween setting while thinking to the unavoidable epigones and gravediggers of modernity (disguised devotees) whose names i will refrain from mentioning since the list is too long and because that would bring them free ad.


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Michel Carmantrand ROOSTER'S EYE, 170x170x4cm (67x67x1.6"), gesso and acrylic paint on canvas.
ROOSTER'S EYE, 170x170x4cm (67x67x1.6"), gesso and acrylic paint on canvas.

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Michel Carmantrand ROOSTER BY MOONLIGHT, 170x170x4cm (67x67x1.6"), gesso and oil on canvas.

ROOSTER BY MOONLIGHT, 170x170x4cm (67x67x1.6"), gesso and oil on canvas.
Between metonymy and metaphor, teasing the difference and relations between signifier and signified. It could also have been titled: "Frog and the Crocodile", but "Rooster by moonlight" came first and before the painting was done, which is rare with me. One question was to find the rhythm, the rhythm between the "waves" and the white, the scansion between "empty" and "full", a mere question of dynamic relationship between forms, shapes, designs, between entanglement and division. The "crest" of the "rooster" had to keep partly, on the right, its organic aspect, and had to lose it on the left, through the repetition, in order to become a pictorial motif. The second question among others was the orientation of the "teeth", here inverted in mirror too. To the left, or to the right? I decided to go against the western reading common way to give the "text" a little more "bite". All in all it is both serious and funny painting. By "funny" i mean it makes me laugh, that it is not boring. At least i hope so. The red was applied with a brush, then crushed under a plastic sheet, which made it possible to erase the brushstrokes, to get a sort of lumpy wrinkled granulation close to the flesh of the protuberances of these poultry, to regain the transparency and to introduce these little parasitic bulbs contaminating the "purity" of the "moon". Well, now on a figurative horizon, allegorically speaking at least: a bucolic vernacular country view (heap of manure, lame-brained banjo player, various incestuous sects and the old wooden bridge over the river). Regarding the "eyes" of the "frog", i have no precise explanation, but i believe the are fitting well over the "pond". Let's say that i believe this painting isn't as stupid as it seems at first glance (especially at first glance on these IG post stamps). And i take the opportunity (last two pics of the set) to confront ROOSTER with PARTITION II, to which i brought a modification. Rooster's pic (detail) by Muhammad Mahdi Karim, found on Wikipedia.


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Michel Carmantrand ACHAB, 170x170x4cm (67x67x1.6"), acrylic paint and oil on canvas.
ACHAB, 170x170x4cm (67x67x1.6"), acrylic paint and oil on canvas.

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Michel Carmantrand At work on tarps, 2018-2020.
At work on tarps, 2018-2020.


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Michel Carmantrand A FANLIGHT ON THE SLAB, 170x170x4cm (67x67x1.6"), acrylic paint on canvas.
A FANLIGHT ON THE SLAB, 170x170x4cm (67x67x1.6"), acrylic paint on canvas. This with some photos, including a portrait of Aby Warburg, as well as some recent various notes that I relate and do not relate.
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The interesting thing about sewing is that the thread disappears through a hole.
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There are some ways to deny your own ignorance; among others, to rely on belief, at random, to science.
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Slow down the transient to immobility, but maintaining the representation of the movement.
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The connection between grainy and pimply is not only a matter of size, but lies in its close relationship to the skin.
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Just because you sell a lot doesn't mean you're a good artist. Just because you sell very little does not mean that you are a good artist.
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And, from time to time, thinking back with a kind of diffuse gratitude to that very short dialogue found on IG a long time ago, below the pic of an big orange butterfly, where the person who posted it wrote: -"It is sooo wonderful!!! Do you know its name?" And someone answered: -"Georges?"