Exhibitions. Max Charvolen and Jean-Marc Pouletaut: media in conversation


Menton (Alpes-Maritimes), special correspondent

Raphaël Monticelli, art critic, notes it as follows: “Duo exhibitions have a special flavor. They echo two approaches, two visions of the world, two sensitivities. » From this sensitive crossing between two occupations of space is born a surprising interference.

The contemporary art gallery of Menton invites us to a journey in the middle of « Supports in conversation » (1). Either the presence of works by two artists that one might think are quite distant: Max Charvolen and Jean-Marc Pouletaut. Not that one replaces the void of the other (and vice versa). But the works thus shown rightly say that space is infinite and that it can be apprehended in a thousand ways.

Charvolen, who trained as an architect, did an internship with Oscar Niemeyer. Then it was the Arts Déco, in Nice and the Beaux-Arts in Marseille. Fluxus and New Realism are not far away, Supports/Surfaces explodes the frames. He creates, with Louis Chacallis, Vivien Isnard, Serge Maccaferri and Martin Miguel, the Group 70 whose first exhibition will take place in January 1971. But what interests him are the dimensional, spatial relationships. It covers and covers places. Entrances to houses, stairs or even an archaeological site as he did in Delphi, on the ruins of the Trésor des Marseillais. And then he takes off this « skin » to restore it in two dimensions. « There is power in Charvolen’s work, but also something visceral, » wrote Martin Winckler (2). The way the elements will stay attached will generate thousands of different figures. The experience, made from scales where solids and voids are constitutive of the object itself, pushes this deconstruction far. The inside and the outside, in front and behind are no longer really perceptible. The vision blurs.

It turns out that the story of Jean-Marc Pouletaut, twelve years younger, will cross that of Max Charvolen at the Villa Arson in Nice, where he will have him as a teacher. It is strongly influenced by Supports/Surfaces. Over the years, when he was already experiencing hearing problems, Pouletaut’s vision deteriorated sharply. This does not prevent him from continuing to create and, paradoxically, from exploring color with passages of matter through the weft of a canvas and not just any canvas since it is a canvas. mosquito net. This is how he creates what he calls the « hypertrophied canvas », which is nothing other than a relationship between the transparent and the opaque, the empty and the full. And also a study on the trace left by color. Helped by an assistant, he uses a foam roller. As he explained to critic Caroline Canault: “The mosquito net allows the paint to be spread randomly in the form of traces in the infinite small squares of the support (…) Each color corresponds to a monochrome layer of paint. » A correspondence then appears which functions remarkably between the works of Charvolen and Poultaut thanks to a simple scenography which renews the way of apprehending their work.

Here, Charvolen has chosen works that play more than others on voids and solids. This is the series Ladders and Counterforms, produced between 1971 and 1973. Pouletaut, by suspending his hypertrophied canvases, also questions, with the passage from one side to the other, the meaning of things. The shapes and colors thus manipulated become a playground for the two artists and offer new perspectives. « This is what Pouletaut and Charvolen deeply share: the requirement of an approach, a thoughtful and rational approach to painting »writes Raphaël Monticelli. “An art from which emerges a new sensibility, new areas of emotion. »

Pierre Barbancey

(1) Contemporary art gallery. Palace of Europe. Menton Until September 17

(2) A work by Charvolen, texts by several authors. Editions Muntaner 2001.


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