Eureka V

Bonnefoi Christian

Date : 1999

Medium : Painting

Size : 200 x 180 cm

Acrylique on canvas

The artist began the Eureka series at the start of the 1980s, continuing to present day with Eureka VIII. Curves, spirals and waves give these works their stark graphical appearance. The colourful, tangled snake-like forms intertwine and overlap, bringing with them a definitive, chromatic richness that is unexpected from an artist whose approach is so strict and precise.  

In Eureka V, colours are added and saturated; exhilarating colours are interlaced and stand out against a solid background, bringing them to the fore. The “method”, or Bonnefoi’s approach, creates a visual tie between different eras. Whether gestural, brimming with colour, exuberant like Eureka, or in keeping with minimal movement like Ja na pas, his paintings strike a balance in a constant flow between material, media, and stretching the surface to allow the “emergence of the visible”.

The guide

The work of Christian Bonnefoi finds its source in an encounter, an artistic lightning bolt that struck the artist in 1970 in front of Matisse’s Backs. Bonnefoi saw these sculptures as the perfect work, with which Matisse, beginning from drawings, successfully encapsulated two and three dimensions.

Since then, the French painter has had only one obsession: to abolish categories by merging the medium, the subject matter and design.

Seeing the serpentine, joyful forms of his canvas, his method appears entirely spontaneous. It is nothing of the sort.

Come closer. Examine the surface. There is logic at work, an undeniable system that has its origins in collage. Inspired by Cubism, his abstract work nonetheless has a festive air, where colours and the play of materials lead our eyes into perpetual motion.

Bonnefoi is not only a painter, he is also a magician. Manipulating the effects of transparency, superimposition, concealment and overlapping, his work achieves unity where the others end up with only clumsy stratification.

Indeed, we are given the impression that there are several layers of painting, but the sequence in which they were painted escapes us. Background and foreground combine. The canvas becomes the surface, and the surface becomes the canvas.

Let us consider this canvas for a moment. Christian Bonnefoi is drawn to two materials in particular: tarlatan, a cotton fabric resembling tulle, and tissue paper, that allow him to play with translucency and layering. His works are colourful, multi-layered confections on which we can feast our eyes.