28 Aug 2015 - 13 Sep 2015

The Invisible Rhythm of Change

Emmanuelle Castellan

Appropriating Language #9


No, it wasn't a Monet or a Manet. It was a Bonnard. It was at the house of some people in Berne who were great art collectors. They had a painting by Bonnard: a boat, with the wife's family in it. Bonnard always wanted to alter the sail, and because he kept on about it they let him have the painting back. When he returned it he said he considered it finished now. But the sail had swallowed up everything, dwarfing the sea, the people in the boat and the sky. That happens with a book: you can start a new sentence and change the whole subject. You don't notice anything; you look up at the window and it's evening. And the next morning you find you've sat down to a different book. The making of pictures and books isn't something completely conscious. And you can never, never find words for it.

Excerpt from Practicalities, by Marguerite Duras

Translated from the French by Barbara Bray

Grove Press, Literature (Essays)


Emmanuelle Castellan presents in her exhibition at Manière Noire new works, which begin in her studio and could (or not) be finished in the gallery space. The exhibition will be an open process of improvisation, where indetermination and freedom become keywords in the context of the show. Castellan experiments with the potential of the poetical expression. Painting for her is a living language, the dynamics of which is attained by persistent play between speech and silence.

Emmanuelle Castellan’s pictures stand out among most of today’s painting in two major respects. It is narrative, but it does not tell stories. And it moves out of the picture space without either neglecting or rejecting it.
Jens Emil Sennewald, art critic and journalist

Emmanuelle Castellan's art develops a tenuous relationship to space, which finds its form in an opened-up pictorial praxis. Whether they adopt the classic form of the picture, or appear directly on the wall, or take on a three-dimensional form in maquettes and installations, her works are transitory zones which contaminate space. Based on photographs that she finds in newspapers or produces herself, the artist grapples with the exercise involving the disappearance and re-appearance of the image in painting. She turns experiments into working rules; her pieces highlight the active principles behind the persistence of imagery in space and time.
Guillaume Mansart, art critic