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Bénédicte Peyrat | Où en est l'herbe?



Exhibition Type:

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Friday, 6 March 2020 to Sunday, 19 April 2020
Friday, 6 March 2020 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Facing Bénédicte Peyrat’s paintings, it quickly becomes clear that Peyrat not only loves colors, but also full-bondiedness. In baroque sensuality we encounter strange looking, mostly round and fleshy figures that act as capriciously as they look. People and things lead a life that does not crave for fashionable prosperity but comes with a self-sufficient originality. There is no shortage of nothing here and the nudity of the characters increases their forcefulness, which at times seems naive, if it wasn't for the breath of the scenes that speaks of hopes that are unlikely to ever come true. Vision and reality overlap whilst the cheerfulness of the protagonists barely conceals the abyss that surrounds many of Peyrat's characters - the awareness of loneliness behind the cheerfulness. Bénédicte Peyrat is a portraitist and she loves the figures she paints, forming them between light and shadow with an agitated line. Perhaps precisely for this reason the abyss of our existence neither leads to methodical narrowing nor is it alleged as a pretext for a pondering way of painting. The staff is authentic because there is a way of experiencing beyond memory, perception and poetry, a form of identification that -without distance or makeup - engages with the people who populate the pictures.

Bénédicte Peyrat takes us into mysterious, Arcadian landscapes that surprise with somnambulistic, phantasmagorical discoveries. She avoids a direct geographical and temporal classification but seeks dialogue with the epochs and styles of art history.

Here, a Flemish-Dutch baroque is discharged under impressionistic skies and is charged with a narrative that, through its brusque departure from the promises of a uniform present, disavows it as a grotesque. History and present intertwine and everything that happens is realistic and enraptured at the same time. (...)

The appearance of the often small-sized portraits, the half-figures and the large formats, which mostly show scenic representations, nudes or full-body portraits, seems traditional, but is located in the present through details, clothing or technical devices. The bodies appear coarse, but are of great plastic vitality, almost sensual in their way of facing life. One sees the circling trace of the brush, suspects the pleasure in its physical formation, which even finds a closed form when a body is hardly worked out to the last detail. Here Peyrat touches the abundance of old forms, such as the figurativeness of Jordan, and designs her own type of human figures, whose physiognomies are similar, but which are more essential than representational in a realistic sense. Not always, especially with the "heads", Peyrat blurs

the differences between the sexes, yet with a lively dash she declines the possibility of individual appearances in a serial frame.

This is bold and allows distance, since it diminishes the belief in human limitlessness and, at the same time, demands one's own aesthetic ingenuity in view of the limited resources. The color palette also remains limited and covers the earthly dimension of the figuration, the limitlessness of which is explained by the essence and is therefore sincere.

(…) Peyrat designs types that she extracts from seeing and experiencing and adds them to landscapes that narrow reality like a backdrop and focus on the protagonists. (…)

Under a blue-gray sky, the choice of colors is mostly determined by nature, less often does an autonomous colorism blend into the color fields moved by light and shadow. Many of the pictorial spaces are moved, dark colors signal wildness and contrast with the figurative compositions. In the background the landscape disappears into nowhere, heaven and earth touch, details are unimportant. In the face of emptiness, life holds its own like a promise whilst the rising skies also lead nowhere.

Bénédicte Peyrat has developed an idiosyncratic and original work that stands out precisely because it cannot be classified. This cosmos of animals, people and things is full of surprises and, in its unpretentious otherness, neither cool nor chic, but nevertheless sympathetic and human.

(from a text by Erik Stephan, 2016)

0221 3101000
Venue ( Address ): 

Aachener Str. 5

50674 Köln

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