LI CHEVALIER

LI CHEVALIER

Dark Flame

 

 

    LI CHEVALIER 

 

 

What, then, is the true relation between the nature of a scarlet red rose and an art which tries to take refuge in the refined universe of the literati, in retreat from the din and fury of the secular world? Can we really welcome the idea of our own "nothingness" in a "Zenitude" safe from the obsession of existential nausea, triggering shattering revolts, or screams, hymns to a fleeting Dionysian joy?

 

 "Nothing is Zen in your universe, everything is !" said a French philosopher, discovering my studio.

 

 Malevich posits his black as the principle of the supremacy of the pure feeling of forms and colors. As for me, my dark flames are there only to visually paraphrase a feeling, pure or impure, clear of the incommensurable complexity of the universe, obscure, fascinating, intolerable, because of its inaccessibility. I cannot find better than the blackness of the Chinese ink to base the intensity of such  metaphysical vertigo,  not to say malaise; "The man who does not meditate lives in blindness, the man who meditates lives in  darkness, we only have the choice of black". Victor Hugo in “William Shakespeare”.

 

 

 A solitary bench leaning against the ocean of unfathomable depth; A Greek pi π of the immeasurable, which defies rationality; question marks suspended in the sky, uncertainty constellating the earth, the spirit. The vertiginous void, in which "the power of the poetic breath is translated into a lucid and desperate cry against the immense loneliness that inhabits man". Rainer Maria Rilke

 

 Between the two dark banks that Hugo depicts, between the sky and the earth infused with dark flames, to carry on the journey, I have little choice but to let some rays of light pierce through, as sign of consolation, though temporary, a  persistence of a disenchanted quest for meaning  in a world of nonsense, of  unsustainable desire for the desirable, in search of  unfathomable  beauty and  of  wide open spaces, where we roam aimlessly.

 

 

                                                                            _____________________________________

   

 

 

After my wanderings through the Western philosophy and the pictorial art , which has  started in the 90's, I undertook for more than a decade to revisit Chinese  ink , vector of  a millenary art, which incarnates, in my eye, an aesthetic and spiritual singularity of an exceptional nobility, in contrast to  a contemporary artistic landscape largely subject to Western conceptual games.

 

The task would be simple if it could be accomplished by a pure technical adjustment; substitution of brush drawing by the manipulation of materials, revamping space composition, intensifying ink painting impact by introducing texture, collage, which forced me to move from rice paper to canvas etc. But the most disturbing factor  in this return "to the  misty land of oriental wonders", lies in this constant tension that I feel, between my often troubled interiority, strongly tinged with Western philosophical pigments and the spiritual orientation of  ink art, which traditionally embodies a wisdom defying  passion, faith  and all metaphysical (mis)adventures.

 

If the taste for duality, very Platonic,  recurrently  intoxicates  the Western spiritual  quest for grandeur, sublime,  truth and for the dramaturgical expression of "chiaroscuro" in all its arts forms, musical or visual,  Eastern wisdom, on the contrary,   feeds on the gray gradient in a  foggy ground  kind of  “ in between,” celebrates   ambiguity, transience , modesty  where, the status of permanence and absolute is forever denied to the truth.

 

Having opted for intuition against the intellectual order, oriental art based on such a blurred state of mind can only go against the rational construction of meaning by argumentation. The ink art thus, leads  me to venture into the land  of semi-abstraction where  the figures and forms are to be dissolved in the mist , symbol are to be veiled  under  the  half  tone,  beauty,  to be loaned without a “ hyme of gloria” , solitude and  melancholy are to be perceived but  restrained   from romantic drama.    Containing my dark flames below the limit of explosion, hold back my desire for an outgoing intellectual brilliance, mute my surges of enthusiasm and groan become a challenge, that the mist that bathes my paintings, I hope, could provide me a chance to face with.

 

 Ink painting, by its fluidity and lyrism, imposes improvisation. (compared to the "impasto" of the oil painting, so apt to embody rationally organized three-dimensional forms).  The ambivalence of its forms without form, evasive, allusive, represent precisely the quintessence of a culture, soul sister of poetry rather than of science or philosophy.  It is an art that chooses to bypass the real to reach the imaginary.   It is a wisdom that worship the virtue of doubt, encourages the suspension of sentence, mistrusts arguments and confrontation, too often decline into violence.

 

Can a frog at the bottom of a well capture the dimension of the sky?

“Since human beings participate in only an infinitesimal part of the whole, they are unable to grasp anything with certainty”.

By those words, Jacques Derrida restated con brio the old Chinese metaphor, which should be understood as stemming from a deep commitment to prudence and tolerance:  claiming a response to such serious questions as the intrinsic meaning of the world and of life, being trapped however in his fatal finitude, denotes an infantile lack of maturity,  likely to disturb both the peace of the  world, and  the peace of  soul.

 

Thus, moral virtue and pictorial quality converge in a single classic injunction: It is precious not to see too clearly, ( thus  not  to paint too clearly ) all, in order  not to judge too boldly. 

 

 

 

 



12/06/2019
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