-------------------------------------------------------LE Rouge _ 1968 (Fromanger Godard about drawing)
________________AbouT FrOManGer _ Painter and Activist
The painter's model is commodity. All sorts of commodities: apparel, toiletries, bridal accessories, erotica, food. And the painter is always present in his paintings, a black silhouette who seems to watch: painter and love, painter and death, painter and food, painter and car... But from one model to the other, they are all measured by the unique model of Commodity moving with the painter. Each painting is built on a dominant color, and the paintings form a series. It is as if the series began with the painting Rouge de cadmium and finished with Vert Veromese, representing the same painting, but this time exhibited in the dealer's shop: the painter and his painting have themselves become commodities. Still, we could imagine other beginnings and other endings. In any case, from one painting to the other, not only is the painter strolling through the shops, but the values of exchange are in circulation; it is a journey of colors, and a journey in each painting, a circulation of intonations. Nothing is neutral or passive. And yet the painter doesn't mean anything by his work: neither approbation nor anger. Nor do the colors mean anything: green is not hope; yellow is not sadness; red is not happiness or joy. Only hot or cool, hot and cool. Art as machinery: Fromanger paints, that is to say, he knows how to operate his paintings. The painting-machine of an artist-engineer.
She is beautiful in death. But to make her death hot, some yellow must be extracted from the green, and to do this, blue must be drawn out as the compliment of yellow.
ascending gradient of the dominant color which traces in the painting a whole system of connections marked with white points; 2) the network of secondary
colors, which forms disjunctions of the hot and the cool, a reversible exchange of transformations, reactions, inversions, inferences, heatings and coolings;
there is the circulation of exchange value, and whose importance lies in mobilizing what remains indifferent.
This indifference occurs at three levels of the painting: 1) the indifference of the commodity in the background, which is equivalent to love, death or nourishment, to the naked or the clothed, to a still life, or to a machine; 2) the indifference of the pedestrians, some stationary, others slipping away, such as the blue man or the green woman in Violet de Mars, or the man who is eating as he passes by the newlyweds; 3) the indifference of the black painter in the foreground, his indifferent equivalence to every commodity and passer-by. But perhaps these respective circuits of indifference, each one mirroring the other, exchanging with the other, introduce something like a declaration: the feeling that something is not right, that something keeps disrupting
the humans to the human, and the painter to himself. This is the circuit of death, where everyone is heading towards the grave, or is already there. It is at this rupture point, everywhere present, that the other circuit connects up, rejoining the painting, reorganizing it, turning the discrete planes into the rings of a spiral that causes the background to come forward, and the various elements to react with each other in a system of simultaneous inductions. But now it is a vital circuit, with its black sun, its ascending color and its radiant hots and cools. And still the circuit of life is nourished by the circuit of death and carries it along, ultimately to triumph over it.
How do you paint? How does the painting function? And suddenly:
What do you get out of painting? Imagine that Fromanger answers: "I paint in the dark, and what I'm after is hot and cool, and I want to get it from the colors, through the colors." A cook, too, can be after hot and cool, or a junky. Maybe the paintings are Fromanger's food, or his drugs.
Hot and cool: that's what can be extracted from color as much as from anything else (like writing, dance, music, or the media). Conversely, there are other things to be extracted from color as well, and this extraction is never easy, no matter what it is. What this means is that the operation of extracting, or extricating something doesn't happen all by itself. As McLuhan has shown,2 when the medium is hot, nothing circulates or communicates except through the cool, which controls every active interaction, including painter with model, spectator with painter, and model with copy. What counts is the perpetual reversals of hot and cool, according to which the hot can cool down the cool and the cool reheat the hot: it's like heating
an oven with snow balls.
What is revolutionary about this painting? Perhaps it's the radical absence of bitterness, tragic grief, and anguish—all that annoying crap in the pseudo-great painters who are supposedly the witnesses of their times. All those fascist and sadistic fantasies that make a painter seem like an incisive critic of the modern world, when in fact he is only reveling in his own resentment and complacency, not to mention the complacency of his patrons. Though such a painting may be abstract, it is none the less dirty, disgusting, and sad. Like the game-keeper says to the painter:
He loves everything he paints. This presupposes no abstraction, and no agreement either, but demands much extracting and extractive force. It's strange to what extent the acts of a revolutionary are governed by what he loves in the very world he wants to destroy. The only revolutionary is a joyful revolutionary, and the only painting that is esthetically and politically revolutionary is joyful. Fromanger lives and accomplishes what Lawrence says: "In my opinion, either there is joy in a painting, or it's not a painting. The most somber paintings of Piero della Francesca, Sodoma and Goya, breath out this indescribable joy found in real painting. Modern critics talk a lot about the ugliness of paintings, but I have never seen a real painting that I thought was ugly. The subject can be ugly, it can have a terrifying quality, a desperate, almost repugnant quality, as in El Greco's paintings. But all of this is strangely swept away by the joy of the painting. No artist, even the most desperate, has ever painted something without experiencing the strange joy which the creation of the image begets"5—that is to say, the transformation which the image undergoes in the painting, and the change that the painting produces in the image.
PUBlIShed 2004 __________________<>
Je ne suis pas spectateur du monde, je suis dedans. Ni plus ni moins que n’importe qui. Je le suis par passion et par nature et pas du tout par idéologie ou par volontarisme. Je reste ainsi proche des gens. Lors de mes expositions, il y a quelque chose qui passe, je le vois bien. Quelque chose qui fait vivre une petite flamme. Les gens viennent, disent bonjour, regardent, bavardent. De temps en temps ils achètent. Je me sens valorisé, gratifié par cet écho. Par exemple, à chaque exposition, j’offre un poster. Je le tire à 800, 900 exemplaires. Il est là, avec l’écriteau : servez-vous. Quelle révolution dans l’esprit des gens ! Pourtant, c’est tout petit. Je le donne, sur un beau papier. Vous voulez que je le signe ? Je le signe. Les marchands ne sont pas d’accord ! " Il ne faut jamais donner ! ", disent-ils. J’ai été obligé de quitter certains d’entre eux, parce qu’ils ne voulaient pas que je donne. Mais l'essentiel n'est pas là. L'essentiel, c'est qu'il y a des peintres qui résistent. Même un peu, c’est déjà beaucoup. Ils résistent au marché, à l’histoire, aux tentations, et par là même ils résistent à la mort ... Ce qui évidemment ne leur appartient pas en propre ! Tout le monde peut se dire : « je ne suis pas devant le monde, je suis dans le monde »