Date : 1999
Medium : Painting
Size : 200 x 180 cm
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.