Philippe Decrauzat
Sans titre (Untitled), 2001

  • Philippe Decrauzat (Lausanne, 1974)
  • Sans titre (Untitled), 2001
  • Acrylics on canvas, 140 x 245 cm
  • Acquisition by the Commission cantonale des activités culturelles, 2002
  • Inv. 2002-004
  • © Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne

After graduating from art school in Lausanne, Philippe Decrauzat co-founded Circuit, an artist-run space in the same city, in 1998. His paintings, murals, installations and films are influenced by the rich heritage of abstraction and op art, drawing on references borrowed from the fine arts, experimental film-making, popular culture, and music. While the artist returns to the issues of vision, perception and movement dear to the twentieth-century avant-garde movements, his work is by no means a mere patchwork of quotations; rather, it reformulates the same questions in the space of paintings and installations.

Decrauzat produced the polygonal canvas Sans titre for the exhibition Get Angry. Perspectives Romandes 3, curated at the Museum in 2001. It features five alternating pale and dark bands of varying thickness that follow the curve of the canvas, with a black centre identical in shape to the shaped canvas itself. As the bands narrow and widen, they generate an optical illusion whereby the lines seem to vibrate, challenging our understanding of the painting as a flat surface. It seems to shift from two to three dimensions, from painting to sculpture, while the black centre acts as a bottomless space, an opening, a void. In a 2007 interview, the artist recalled that as he was working on the painting he was watching the film Alien, whose space ship reminded him of Frank Stella’s Black Paintings (1958–60): ‘From Stella to Alien, you go from a frontal image to a space ship. For Stella, the edge determines the centre; in my paintings there is an impression of depth of field that deforms the centre of the drawing that emerges from the contour.’ The painting’s shape and optical properties make it ‘float’ on the wall, challenging our perception of space and our visual grasp of the work when standing in front of it.

Bibliography

Lionel Bovier (ed.), Philippe Decrauzat, exh. cat. Geneva, Centre d’art contemporain, Zürich, JRP Ringier, 2007.

Fabrice Stroun, Philippe Decrauzat. Progress Report, exh. cat. Lausanne, ELAC – Espace d’art contemporain, Geneva, JRP, 2003.

Yves Aupetitallot and Pierre Keller, Get Angry. Perspectives romandes 3, exh. cat. Lausanne, Espace Arlaud, Lausanne, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, 2001.