At the confines of traditional categories: reclassifying the work of Silvère Jarrosson

Movement is at the heart of creation. Where our individual and collective perception of reality often stultifies it, even if this only lasts the time requires to embrace it, the world around us is in perpetual motion: celestial bodies, tectonic plates, stones, animals, plants, cells, particles. Motionlessness does not appear to exist. Indeed death itself is perhaps impulsed by life, devouring itself and engendering fresh creation out of its own ruins.

The history of art is littered with examples of depictions of movement. This has been a subject intimately connected with creation, for thousands of years, although from the beginning, representing movement was a key component. More precisely, this involved creating a visual signal, its components perceived by ocular perception, demultiplexed, assembled and accumulated, in order to encourage the beholder to identify the concept of movement. This technique was employed by China’s Tang artisans, celebrated for their horses depicted in full flight, in a pose no less realistic than Géricault’s in his Epsom Derby, many centuries later.

It took the invention of the cinema for the cinematics of reality to be faithfully depicted, with movement itself being coded on a series of fixed media capable of producing the appropriate illusion when visualized in succession at high speed. Yet here again, the smokescreen operates, with the process only differing from the previous one owing to the multiplication of the operation, with tiny figurative movements separating each visual signal.

While he is not the first to have successfully reconciled figuration with movement, Silvère Jarrosson offers a rich, simple and powerful solution to this perennial problem: encoding movement, its entire history, indeed archaeology, on one unique medium, using liquid paint. While his work is often categorized within lyrical abstraction, it seemed to me to figurate movement in itself and by itself. Consequently, exit abstraction. When put in motion, painting appears not as a medium between what must be represented and what is represented, but as the representation itself.

While futurists placed the artist, his eye and his brush between movement and its representation, Silvère Jarrosson appears to place movement between the painter and the representation of a movement. A barrier between the subject and its representation falls away: the painter becomes the instigator of an operation where the artist and the subject jointly participate in the figuration of the latter. In a sublimated way, the artist invites a universal, abstract principle to figurate itself.

Hence the need to reclassify Silvère Jarrosson’s work: it cannot be abstract, since it directly produces what is represented. Likewise, the dancer does not represent movement: he embodies it, he is its very manifestation. This artist’s work is the living image of movement, not its ‘re-presentation’. Each of Silvère Jarrosson’s works, therefore, is at the crossroads between portrait, self-portrait, figuration and abstraction. A remarkable tour de force.

An infinite number of movements is thus encoded on the surface and within the thickness of the coat of paint. Each of the convolution of the artist’s body is engraved in each image, as precisely as the oscilloscope captures the trembling of the earth on the surface of a sheet of paper. The artwork, therefore, cannot be interpreted by inspecting its visible surface, as one must traditionally do for pictorial works, but also its invisible thickness. Thus Silvère Jarrosson’s paintings make it possible to carry out a form of archaeology of movement: everything is there, coat ofter coat. When the artist takes the liberty of sanding the surface of some of his works, a full-fledged cameo is born, with a geo-chronological and stratigraphic, dynamic fluids, revealing the full depth of the artwork: it ceases to be two-dimensional, becoming a three-dimensional sculpture. And yet further: the invisible, the underlying, the initial bubbling of the mass liquid opens a fourth dimension that can only be explored mentally. From a simple accumulation of invisible layers, the inner world of the paint coat becomes the matrix whose surface is just a tangible emanation. Movement is at the origin of creation, and creation is the manifestation of movement.

How, therefore, can one not understand that the entire figuration of the universe emerges from these images? While some feel projected into the infinitesimally small microbial portraits, others feel themselves grow to the point where the embrace a cosmic vision where stars and black holes lie side by side. Cut sections of coloured rock, marble, gas accumulation, snowy landscapes, acide, anatomical cuts: the whole of creation appears perceptible. Even the scales are perturbed: with a microscope, the dazed eye realizes that that there are as many details on a single square inch of canvas as on a square yard.

While archaeologists had difficulty representing the Egyptians’ Nun, the Primordial Ocean containing everything, without anything therein being absolutely define, Silvère Jarrosson has achieved precisely this, in the simplest possible way. Showing the universe before it existed in the first place. Figuring figuration before the figure ever was.

And a dance was sufficient for this…