A show of recent works by French artist Claude-Henri Bartoli. The exhibition comprises paintings and artist books, including a homage to Arthur Rimbaud’s Voyelles and collaboration with poet Michel Butor.
In the artist’s own words:
The Analogon exhibition, from my point of view
Thus the whole technical effort of Surrealism, from its very beginning up to the present day, has consisted in multiplying the ways to penetrate the deepest layers of the mind. ‘I say one has to be a seer, become a seer’ it was a question of discovering the means to apply this watchword of Rimbaud’s.
A career spanning almost 60 years and over 200 group and solo exhibitions attest, if it were necessary, that art-making is my territory and that I seek places inhabited by ‘forces that become form’. A long time ago, critics dubbed me a ‘cultured primitive’, because I wander through what C. G. Jung and others later called the ‘collective unconscious’. This space, where symbols come into existence, grow and die, is humanity’s collective heritage. Since 1965, the titles of my exhibitions evince my desire for wandering, my purpose, my vision. And so goes for my first exhibition in Paris, Yéou (inner travels), with a title borrowed from Tchouang Tseu- and all the way up to Analogon in 2020. On the way one finds Shamanic territories of errancy, Heritage: Tripolitan series, Fetish images and wizardly words, Enchanter’s imaginary 1 and 2, Works in black, Sites and other unspoken places, Mediterranean ways 1 and 2, as well as other shows that relate more directly to poets I love: Michel Butor, Guillevic, Bernard Noël, Jean Verdure, Michael Gluck, Pierre Cambon, Enan Burgos, A-M Jeanjean, Arezki Metref, Ahmed Beroho, Isabelle Pierret, Mario Alonso López Navaro, Laura Elena González, Raymond Alcovere, Hugo N'Byaye-Beaudiere, Valérie Rinaldo, Bona Mangangu, including homages to Arthur Rimbaud and Jules Supervielle.
Yes, poetry is at the heart of my work as a painter, though the works are never illustrations, but interweaving paths, as Michel Butor used to say.
My works are more about being receptive to ‘what is coming’ than about imagining or predicting. I work in the spirit of Zen artists’ fondness for ‘letting it happen’. This approach is my golden rule.
What other see as influences, I understand as grasping a formal heritage, borrowing a universal vocabulary of forms; an appropriation of this language that precedes writing, the sign followed by its form. No one invents the language in which one writes, only the assemblage of signs is personal, and it speaks of its user analogically (Jacques Lacan’s analogon). For me, the point is to manifest the spirit of the world. Above all, it is about being ‘in the open’ of the world, a place where all contradictions are eliminated and are no longer perceived as contradictory, as in Herman Hesse’s glass bead game.