31 January – 10 March 2013
Opening on January 31st, 6-9pm
Michel Mouffe (°1957, Brussels) is a painter who does not paint. He veils. His work is built up out of many thin layers of glaze, all carrying their own meaning. Translucent layers of potentiality veil each other and in so doing, every additional layer reveals a bit more of the painting’s mystery. They blend into an almost immaterial surface full of meaning, a vessel of possibilities.
Mouffe’s paintings are not representations. Their meaning does not reside in what is directly shown and revealed, it cannot be systematically deduced from external factors, but is rather to be found in what is hidden and veiled. It lingers in the in-between and is undefinable. It reveals and withdraws itself in the unstable dimension of creation. Veiling reaches possibilities, it opens up the work to almost infinite meaning, to what is at the foundations of creativity.
The meaning of/in the veil comes sideways, it arises and retreats in the margin, it vibrates. It is elusive and cannot be caught by an aggressive eye. The subtle vibrations of color in Mouffe’s paintings require a slowed down gaze in order to “see”. They invite you to enter into a mutually constructive, psycho-corporeal dialogue and to address the limitless space of the painting with all of your basic senses.
This kind of wordless communication, based on affects, crosses the boundaries of the Self and the Other. It is trans-subjective and touches upon the indefinable, full of meaning, hidden in the dimension of becoming. Only by surrendering and having the courage to fragilize one’s own body, one will be able to feel the meaning(s) of the paintings, not only on the macro-level of creative potential, but also on the level of one’s personal identity.
Mouffe creates breathing bodies that invite you to engage in a sensual relationship, a back and forth between reflection and absorption. His paintings are pulsating screens on which to project your own memories and desires. Their surface does not swallow, it absorbs and reflects, inhales and exhales, is able to heal.
The surface of Mouffe’s paintings acts like skin, the human veil. Skin is at once a protective boundary and a vulnerable opening, a threshold. It touches the hidden and subtly reveals a part of it, in a shiver or a sudden blush. In his essay Le Moi-Peau, philosopher Didier Anzieu metaphorically elaborates on the idea that identity takes shape through the pores of the skin (D. Anzieu, Le Moi-Peau, Paris, 1986). Skin contains and secures, yet is also a vulnerable gateway to the outside world. Skin carries imprints, affects, messages. Communication through skin is the most fragile form of communication. It happens unconsciously, yet is at the fundaments of who we are.
We are permeable and in-between in very much the same way as the surface of Mouffe’s painted paradoxes, that linger between presence and absence, inside and outside. Subtle protuberances come forth from the inside of the canvas. The skin is almost scarred and seems to be lived in. Its pores are erotic thresholds between the familiarity of the Self and the strange beauty of the uncanny Other.