Jean de Loisy
“From all these travels, I never used a single thing for my books.
It seemed to me to be of interest to point this out, so clearly it shows that,
for me, imagination is everything.”
Raymond Roussel, How I Wrote
Certain of My Books (original French edition published in 1935)
The strange turn of phrase “Soleil Froid” [Cold Sun], the title
of the new season at the Palais de Tokyo, celebrates the explorers
of invented worlds. It conjures up the drawings of John Buscema
who gave form to the frozen, solitary fate of the Silver Surfer,
a hero gliding over his superluminal board, perfectly guided by
the mere force of his thought.
The same is true of the library of Evariste Richer whose mind
investigated the time and space gap uniting the very deep, lying
under the earth's crust, and the very remote, beyond our galaxy.
A reflection about the crystallization of the world that has turned
into an imaginary library. A field of work whose time and distances
are beyond human comprehension and which no star successfully
The Africa of Raymond Roussel
is caressed only by the sun of the
mind. And it is true of the transitive works of Julio Le Parc
decisive sharpness challenging the object as a presence, leaving
it only the power to vectorize the magical effect of the light in which
the dazzled attention of the viewer is absorbed.
The signs the pale sun in question causes to emerge are those of the
intelligence of artists who conceive plausible scenarios where the
absurd and the sublime no longer contradict one another. Modeling
sculptures in order to invent an archaic cinema in the digital age
is the method adopted by Dewar & Gicquel
to stretch thought
from the Neolithic age to the praxinoscope with no respect for
the order of time.
What does it matter, here we are setting off in the E Type Jaguar
in the form of a hearse, sculpted by François Curlet
, which leads
us at breakneck speed on to the roads of mental acceleration.
Associations are telescoped at a frightening pace, and words
play fast and loose with themselves. By sliding from one cushion
to another billiards get confused with old bandits.
The poetic genius of Raymond Roussel
permeates the whole “Soleil
Froid” season and this issue of Palais
, causing us constantly
to topple over into a different mental geometry. His chimerical
geographies have made a concrete impact on our world, as if the
weight of those imagined continents had altered the orbit of our
planet. The trajectory of this controversial, discreet event represented
by the staging of Roussel's Impressions of Africa
in 1912 gradually
hollowed out a mark, and does so even more deeply today,
that has become intense in artists' minds. We remember Duchamp,
writing about the “Large Glass”: “It was his Impressions of Africa
that showed me the broad outlines of the approach to adopt.”
Undeniable proof that the unreal has an impact on our lives.
In these circumstances the works appear not as stable reference
points, but as projectiles thrown into time, and making a lasting
impression on our consciousness.