Francine Savard

Les Couleurs de Cézanne dans les mots de Rilke, 36/100 - essai, 1997-1998

Francine Savard
Les Couleurs de Cézanne dans les mots de Rilke, 36/100 - essai
Dimensions and medium
Vinyl and acrylic paint on canvas mounted on agglomerated pine fiber and framed book, 363.2 × 181 cm (dimensions of the installation)
Artwork description
Francine Savard’s practice is rooted in a deep reflection on the very nature and process of painting. She examines the phenomenon and language of colour while creating links to art history, literature and exhibition display. Les Couleurs de Cézanne dans les mots de Rilke, 36/100 – essai, consists of 36 horizontal, monochromatic bands of varying widths, mounted on the wall in the shape of a vertical column. To the right is a framed book titled: Francine Savard, Les couleurs de CÉZANNE dans les mots de RILKE, Essai. The book refers to letters written by the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke to his wife in which he describes, in an original and poetic way, the colours he sees in Cézanne’s paintings at the Salon d’Automne of 1907, in Paris. Quoting the poet’s colourful expressions, such as “d’un brun violet mouillé” (a wet browny-violet), or “des violets enfouis” (sunken purples), Savard paints these colours as horizontal bands, with each colour’s “name” inscribed tone-on-tone. The length of each band is determined by the length of the colour’s name. Here, Savard presents only 36 expressions among the hundreds identified in the letters. This quantity corresponds to the maximum number of bands that could fit within the gallery of the Montreal Telegraph building, where the works were presented as part of the exhibition Le mensonge de la couleur, in 1998. This sophisticated pictorial installation demonstrates the relationship between the subjective and enigmatic nature of color and its resistance to scientific description.

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