Paris, 1995 - Philippe Carteron
"For my feeling, space is one from the horizon to the interior of my bedroom-studio", underlined Henri Matisse. Rémi Bourquin could endorse this opinion. The series of skies, his work on space, which he gives us here follows very logically and very nicely to that of "Windows". A series of works which developed a pictorial metaphor by identifying the frame of a window with the wooden frame of a canvas. Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse again and others also made use of this sovereign ellipse, finally opening up painting to the world. By the primacy of the celestial masses in his last works Rémi Bourquin declines the moments, the moments taken on the spot which he notes taking care not to stray from a classic invoice. The almost imperceptible brushstrokes bear witness to the muted struggle that took place in the closed field of the painting. No title, but a simple date and time (of its completion) are hidden behind the canvas.
Rémi Bourquin paints in bursts, seeks in prolixity a truth, his artist's truth. Looking at the sky, the painter contemplates the infinite, the abysses and a certain vertigo captures our gaze. Clouds, trails, but no gaps. A light bathes the whole, but the sun can be guessed more than it is revealed. But slowly Rémi Bourquin instills a feeling of doubt, of anguish, a sort of safeguard against all aestheticizing excesses. This intangible touches us and the unlimited mass disturbs us. It is the absolute territory of the experience, of the spiritual quest which is delivered in these visions which take height. Rémi Bourquin accentuates the emotion with another series of paintings in which images of beaches and shores follow one another. There the sky merges with the ocean. The horizon disappears into the distance. The work of light and color becomes both dense and intense. Incongruous reliefs find a haven on the sand and by their presence add an additional element to the immensity of the landscape. The spaces overwhelm us like the waves that we can guess in the distance and which will soon break.
“These canvases were painted from memory. I wanted to restore the sensations I had experienced at the sight of the great beaches of Cotentin ”. It is the feelings of suffocation that drown him, the emptiness that overwhelms him and this silence that becomes so noisy. Rémi Bourquin never ceases to exorcise these shackles which, far from reducing and paralyzing him, animate him, motivate his inspiration. The painter tells us about "dereliction" and the man who generates it, complies with it and then escapes from it to finally live. We suddenly remember the romantic masterpiece of Caspar David Friedrich "Traveler contemplating a sea of clouds" where again the loneliness of being in front of the immensity of nature is stigmatized in a single strong image. A few sentences gleaned from RM Rilke in Worpswede come back to mind: “the landscape is unknown to us, and we are terribly alone among trees that smell flower and streams that flow. Alone with a dead man, we are far from being as helpless as alone with trees ”. So what to express in front of a sky? So what to say in front of a sea? To be silent, to remember or to snort in order to escape. Curiously, in a year of workshop Rémi Bourquin worked again on all the subjects which had enamelled his young career, taking again point by point the landscapes and these astonishing animals in cages. Today Rémi Bourquin puts in order the things seen, felt, loved and accumulated. The artist allows himself in his rereadings an additional space for reflection before undertaking another collection of emotions and works to be born. But the paintings he delivers to our vision are never repeated and bring other questions about this reality that the painter is in charge of. He pursues again and again what he calls Truth with the weapons at his disposal. Each painting becomes a choice, a reason, a battle to be fought and won. An imagination to build. A memory to save. Memories to exorcise.