2008 (14) (from the series L’homme blanc n’a plus de peau [The white man no longer has a skin]), 2008
At private performances in his studio, Luc Andrié, dressed only in underpants or wearing a ridiculous military cap, plays roles and recreates attitudes observed elsewhere, capturing the images with a camera. Then comes a lengthy painting process aiming as much to reveal as to hide, bring out and dissolve aspects of the image in ambiguous, in-between, insipid, dirty, ‘grungy’, unattractive colours. The spectral figures, which can barely be described as self-portraits, gaze at us as they slip out of sight, seeking us out, teasing us. They cunningly avoid allowing identification of the character depicted and reject immediate consumption. The distancing effect of a veil of paint demands patience from viewers. The body dissolved in the layer of paint forms a latent work of art awaiting understanding. In this sense, it is the polar opposite of the immediacy of the ‘message’ in works by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt and Arnulf Rainer, who similarly played with facial expressions in their art.
The elusive nature of the painting owes much to the aesthetics of the grotesque in the disappearance of sharp outlines, the rejection of harmony, the preference for incoherence, and the critique of reality. The disembodied body of the series L’homme blanc n’a plus de peau is no longer Andrié himself, but the white man per se, exposed in all his fragility: ecce homo! In the words of Alberto de Andrés, ‘Luc Andrié holds his breath to paint himself. He thereby reveals the absurdity and stupidity of humanity’s pretension to grasp its own identity in images and, through them, to grasp the world’.
Kathleen Bühler, Tristan Lavoyer et alii, Luc André. ON, exh. cat. Pully, Musée d’art, Bern, Till Schaap Edition, 2016.
Christian Bernard, Emmanuel Latreille and Denis Savary, Luc Andrié, exh. cat. Montpellier, FRAC Languedoc-Roussillon, Genève, MAMCO, 2007.