Art Actualite Magazine-1992
Patrice de la Perrière
Rémi Bourquin began by painting landscapes that he strongly structured by central axes around which he built his compositions. Then, step by step, the glass structures and cages imposed themselves on him as representing, in his eyes, microcosms in which he could control and above all order, according to his wishes, what was happening there.
And if the landscapes of his beginnings were only decorations for him, with his cages or aviaries, he discovers a closed universe in which he wishes to include life with characters.
But for Rémi Bourquin, the human beings around him are sometimes intruders. He prefers to represent animals thanks to which he creates metaphors allowing him to express himself, to give himself up to the spectators without showing himself.
And if he tells himself, it is certainly not out of narcissism but rather to communicate, to try to explain the why of his painting and the purpose of it.
As a child, Rémi Bourquin wanted to be an entomologist and it is perhaps this vocation as a child that led him over the years to make a painting in which we notice a certain desire to classify, to categorize, to order his universe according to specific rules and thus to control it.
Spaces that are both closed and transparent, since through fences or bars life is perceptible by the spectator, the content of Rémi Bourquin's cages is a bit like our mind: difficult to perceive even if we apprehend its material envelope .
But isn't entomology, like painting, a way to analyze and study others while preserving oneself in a solitude which paradoxically is both liberating and hindering ?
I particularly like this painting where we see a hippopotamus looking at the viewer. Isn't this a way of showing a desire to be alone but in front of others, in front of those around us ?
In the long run, we don't really know which of the two, the spectator or the hippopotamus, is looking at the other !
This curious and fascinating relativity can be found throughout Rémi Bourquin's works.
The artist, as a rule, is a paradoxical being. Rémi Bourquin is no exception to this remark.
And if he has a desire to reach out to others, the difficulty he may have in entering into communication with others, to exchange, means that he takes refuge in his painting to practice a kind of introspection, by animal interposed. His paintings are then so many catalysts that allow him both to understand himself and to offer us sincerely and authentically a part of himself.
Rémi Bourquin is above all not an animal painter ! The animal simply allows him to tell kinds of parables, thanks to which we are given to perceive and feel the human in its most nuanced forms.
Perhaps that is why he is interested in what he calls total understanding, that is, a way to get to the center of things without getting lost in unnecessary frills.
In fact, it is more the approach that fascinates Bourquin than the goal, because isn't the goal exceeded from the moment the canvas is completed ?