The expression of a catastrophe

Silvère Jarrosson, who was born in Paris in 1993, could have been destined to be a clasical ballet dancer. Early on, however, his destiny was torn asunder by an accident. At the end of his teenage years, he chose to fall back on reading biology at university. A trip to Venice, accompanying an artist, made him realise that destiny was whispering to him that he should become a painter. Cela ne fait pas pour autant de lui un indécis, un pratiquant des mauvais chemins, mais un visiteur des extrêmes. He is far from being irresolute or wayward: rather, he enjoys visiting extremes.

Silvère Jarrosson’s work adds an apocalyptic dimension to the known world. He offers us an universe in which all language is abolished, but in which the animated and moving part of soul, the humming of interstices, and the breathing voids still reign: without which life would give up its legendary component. That is why this art should be viewed as an organic, slow-moving adventure—starring the mythical time that lies within us unbeknownst to us, and kindles our emotions.

His work is the expression of a catastrophe. He holds within himself millennia of explosions. Not that this painting took quite so long—somethig he does not claim. Instead his art encompasses all the many evolutions that have governed the universe since matter exists. Alluvia, tributaries, droughts: all of these, together with nothingness, contribute to the promised paralysis of events. We end up seeing a scene of frozen silts that recalls the fatal outcome of a sacrifice. But the miracle of these footprints, once they have finally dried up, of these silent sources, turning into fossilized cracks, is that they bring memories of the path that led them to immobilisation, in other words to mummification. They are the basis of the adventure of matter. Their heroes are rivers and their gods are accidents. They tell a story by making sparing use of of language and recognizable signs. Yet all the violence that has been conducted is displayed with such assurance that one wonders whether a certain taste for the sordid lies behind it. Ultimately, the reception of matter implies taking account of the worst.

With time, white conducts a grdual invasion. The first series of Silvère Jarrosson unveiled all-overpaintings, in which everything was condensed and filling was optimal, where the way of seeing the painting (and thus the world) was full, with an impetuous, colorful vibrato. Even though it had been evident for a while, one trend seems to have been accentuated by a trip to China. In the more recent artworks, a shining glow grips the canvas. Contrary to what Mallarmé announces, the whiteness does not provide protection in Jarrosson’s work: it attacks, gains a foothold and declines to retreat. It is a window allowing in yet more sky, as in the series of Elegies, where little by little it affirms its mastery of air, territory and contours. Now it advances in a luminous mass, giving way to tides. A definite change is taking place at the edges. Not that there is less savagery—quite the contrary: the paiter highlights it by storing reserves of chaos on islands. It is now intermingled with passionate zebra stripes, and a plentiful additional supply of clear emptiness. The highlight is a promise of conduct, and a smile for the bright rhetoric. In this way, on a quasi blank canvas, Jarrosson combines both: the screaming delirium of dark filaments, and the wise contemplation of whiteness.

What cannot be denied is that this artist has a sense of composition. In paintings that appear to be moving, the least we can say is that he knows the right moment to stop them, if indeed it is he who stops them, or he who makes sure that they are what they are before us, which is always difficult to say in front of works that seem to be shaped in a “freewheeling” way, almost by chance, and in any case subject to the whims of the dripping process.

Silvère Jarrosson is part of the young generation that does not fear lyricism. His art evidently proclaims it. Nor is he afraid to venture into abstraction, a field that has been visited so many times, to look for something unique, and that resembles him. That is where one can start talking about panache. Everything is risky and prone to fragility and overthrow: gazing at these canvases, distinguishing the craters, the fluids and all this known traffic, one observes in his art the full measure of the passion devoted to it, together with the tenacious, indeed self-righting envy so tenacious that is the inevitable conclusion of so much posturing.

What necessity can a painter have to soak up such landscapes, and repeat them all day long? Undoubtedly there is a place for his desire, and this desire, as far as we know, is profoundly earthly: he needs to anchor himself in the ground to resource himself—not to take root, but simply to feed himself. If comparisons absolutely need to be made, one would venture to say that some of his works have the appearance of planetary surfaces: yet that would reduce them to what they look like, instead of what they are. It would be a mistake to assimilate such forceful paintings to planets, which generally provide only a short tone sample of their land surface. His are unquestionably more solar. In addition, they offer the spectacle of matter fighting against matter. Countless fights are thus detected, with the naked eye, in the flow of the canvas! The artist presents us with a battleground of opposing forces, seeking ascendancy, charging, colliding, or withdrawing. Here he gives a fine definition of the paradox: his paintings, by engaging in these battles, are freed from a burden, and it is this burden that soothes us. We are fed by this conflict.

Silvère Jarrosson is an earthly creature. His art is a militant testimony for more sincere impregnation of soils. Notwithstanding, as he immobilises currents to reveal sedimentary archaeology, he may be the the most rootless being possible In the spring of 2018, he was the resident Artist Laureate at Villa Jean-Denis Attiret in Guangzhou (China). This summer, he is a guest of Fondation Claude Monet in Giverny and will exhibit this autumn at the Riga Academy of Fine Arts.