General Consideration on the Flowers
by Hervé Georges Ic, october 2022
This collection was started in 1996, when I returned from New York where I had seen for the first time the « all over » paintings of Jackson Pollock, Philip Taaffe, Ross Bleckner, Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman… and many others. The ease with which American painting assumes the surface has always impressed me a lot because it marks a clear difference with European painting. What remains of European culture is this need for depth, for a universal and philosophical explanation for everything. It is ridiculous and beautiful at the same time. If Europe has been defeated by American consumerism (one must think of the market economy as a war machine to understand today’s world), then these often forced attempts to give a profound meaning to works of art must be understood as an ultimate form of resistance. In this, I like very much this European stubbornness, and I recognize myself in it.
At the time, in 1996, formalism and geometric abstraction dominated among art critics and expressionist followers occupied the French market. All this seemed to me a hypocritical way of mimicking the Americans and the Germans. I wanted to start on a new basis. If anything was worth preserving in this tired end of the 20th century, it was the principle of laying new foundations for everything. My new foundation would be slow, smooth and deep through transparency.
That same year I met my son’s future mother, who worked at the Guggenheim Museum Soho. She is Japanese and had shown me photos of « Kasugayama », the primitive forest of Nara, where her family comes from. When I returned I started to work on paper with large combinatory compositions of branches, flowers and birds which became a decorative motif close to tapestry. And I really worked in this direction and it didn’t bring me any luck at all because my attempts were much mocked and much copied afterwards.
I say « collection » because it cannot be a « series ». It is not an industrial production, they are not even « serial compositions » in the sense of graphic arrangement. They are possibly « organizations » in the « organic » sense of the living. Vegetal forms which are mixed in an improvised way, neither chaotic, nor intelligible.
The transparency and the lightness of the treatment allow to add without saturating.
The lines that sometimes appear in the background are from the dance canvases. Originally they were ring ropes. They mark the opposition between the rational and the vegetal. The Nature does not think like the man, it does not arrange itself, does not compose itself, does not save itself, does not calculate. I find it very relaxing to observe nature for what it brings us that is foreign to ourselves. The human world is finished, full, saturated with itself. Too full of strategic reflections, of system, of mechanism, of anticipation that make the human mental space a ring, a permanent competition.
The human mind is impoverished by its riches.
These flowers are real, at different scales. I find them in the street, in gardens, in the countryside. They grow where possible, in the piss of dogs sometimes. They are modest flowers of the street. Never commercial flowers, that’s why there are no vertical stems. I mostly look for stems that come from above or from the side. This increases the sensation of being in, under, in the middle of the plant and not grasping it. I really like that you can’t memorize these paintings. You can look at them, follow their interlacing and photograph them. But you can’t copy them because they have no logic.