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  • 1998 - Michel Tournier of the Goncourt Academy (writer)


This is the word matter that first comes to mind when we browse the work of Guy-Rachel Grataloup.What matter?All materials, wood, stone, metal, but also hair, grass and of course light.It could not be a question for him to transport a form in various materials, as some works can be conceived as well in marble, ebony or photography.Grataloup’s works are absolutely intransposable, “intranssubstantial” to speak like theologians.

Yet no one is more distant than he from the «matierism» of a Dubuffet, Fautrier, Tapies or Burri who fetish the homogeneous substance in which they knead their works.Of course matter is there, but it is possessed, mastered, denied in a certain sense.

What is matter?It is a homogeneously full space and therefore substantially unintelligible.An empty space calls for geometric or living forms on which the mind can exercise itself.Filled with a paste whose each part is interchangeable with all the others, it discourages any constructive action.

This means that Grataloup’s material hides a secret.First, he sows small keys lost in it like needles in a haystack.They are thus Icarus fallen into the wheat, hunters almost invisible in the middle of the forks, a small green man in a volcanic landscape, the original human couple drowned in the clear paradise, an acrobat diving naked in creepy thicknesses.These imponderable creatures are all worms in the fruit of substance.They warn us that there is something fishy.

Soon figures of another scale took possession of the field.A golden scale rises on a copper background, Sebastian bandages his bow, the tent of the prophet carved in a sacred parchment rises in the desert, a thinker maculated with dust attends the awakening of the mineral.

The lesson is obvious: matter is defeated.Better: there is no matter, there is only an infinitely thin fabric of forms.Yet we remain far from abstraction, it would rather be concretion that we should speak.Because this chromatic thickness, what is it? It is the subtle ramage of a large tree, the inexhaustible plant richness of a grass, the iridescent shades of a rainbow, the plumage of an invisible peacock, the granulation of a struck mineral.

Grataloup is beyond form and matter.He draws his work from antimatter.

Michel Tournier of the Goncourt Academy - March 4, 1998

Excerpts from the Preface – Monograph 1998 – Ramsay Editions


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