Antoine Camenen

Claire Chesnier


Abetted by their regular brushwork, Claire Chesnier’s inks mutate in subtly diffuse variations through the fibres of the rag paper she works on. In their seeming spareness they proceed by deposition, calling on the artist to surrender to her matter – living substance, surely – and to come to terms with that foreign body, the support. An approach, then, as ethical as it is aesthetic. Amid compellingly geological intimations of soil seepage, the vivid layers disseminate their infinite changefulness, diluting the ascendancy of the creative act and letting painterly events take their course. Beginning with the directions taken by chromatically unstable pigments in an evolution that ends only with the definitive drying of the ink. Among the chemical reactions to be reckoned with are tiny incidents that can become embedded in the work: «ghosts», the artist calls them. There are other possibilities too, hints left to the viewer, inklings of landscapes or horizons that effloresce but are never imposed. In this encounter Claire Chesnier’s painting, shedding any kind of authoritarianism, offers itself as a caress. Signs are done away with in favour of the near-indefinable sensuality of this nuanced art of transition from one colour to another. Music and poetry are revealed here as clear influences on an oeuvre functioning, About the artist 4 with a touch of synaesthesia, in the hinterland of the inexpressible. And so a broader attentiveness conducive to contemplation is demanded of us in confronting these shifting landscapes, luminous even in their darkest reaches.

 — Antoine Camenen for L’ahah, 2020. (English translation : John Tittensor)