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 An answer to "What’s painting, anyway?"

Among all the researches I undertook, painting clearly stood out and became my primary means of expression when I realized it could organically achieve the very essence of a singular poetic approach to the world. It is a direct questioning of the language: what links me to the world, what makes me say and know I exist. Every morning, I drift away from those who have showed me the way – Monet, Nicolas de Staël, Rothko and others. I ask questions, I invent answers by means of what little by little takes shape as various themes which all have the same object: I am what I paint, I don't paint what I am. "I" is a plastic presence to the world, my instinct must be that of the tool; that’s the way it is, and the history of civilizations tells me this since its origins.

What’s painting, anyway? It’s trying to paint what one would paint if one painted – to paraphrase Duras. A painter: someone who, better than anyone else, knows how to make the indiscernible visible. The wonder of darkness defeated by color.

To paint is to cause the encounter between a sign and an intention. It doesn’t matter whether it’s called red is my color, thriller, A as in..., Rothko and I, blue oranges, adventures new adventures, the shadow of the city, the pain and the night, no god nor master, music-music-music, where are our dreams...? It doesn’t matter, since painting only holds up through the force of style, through the perceptiveness exerted in the choice of the solutions induced by the materiality of things: the graphs, the colors, the contours and the detours that light will make visible. When Monet paints water lilies, he captures their true nature, a territory that his brush explores better than any guileful and conceited staging of emotion could ever do. Brushes, a canvas, colors, and the tremendous urge to go ahead: in this trivial way, emotion unfolds beyond and before our dramas – the world and I, the world that is dying under our eyes.

No conclusion: no time to die right now. So, in emergency, searching, exhuming, destroying and building – reaching for the gold buried in the body of the world, far from everything that immunizes us. I reinvent in the ark-studio, without illusion nor perversity, the history of the visionaries, the poets, the defeated, the dreamers. I invent here and with them the last days of humanity. I say we are alive (boundless pride and impatient passion) and you are dead.
                                           Michèle Victor, 27 January 2007
                                                         Translation: DCT