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  • 2002 - Lydia Harambourg (art historian)


The personal work of Grataloup, atypical in that it does not fall into any well-defined aesthetic category, finds in the Saint-Louis chapel its profound resonance.Singular spatial correspondences are thus updated in a set of some sixty recent large-format canvases, accompanied by several installations, whose impact on our visual and expressive receptivity pursues us for a long time.The affinities between this place and the plastic universe of Grataloup are indeed manifest.Liberal Bruant’s powerful classicism refers to the infinity that emerges from Grataloup’s painting, the spiritual fullness of the building to its metaphysical quest, the perenniality of the stone with the timeless character of its creation.


Grataloup is on the enjoyable side of the act of painting.In the constant dialogue he maintains with nature, he constantly appeals to memory.He does not care about a fad out of breath and deceptive.His commitment joins that of the first man who transgressed the present by drawing on the wall of the cave the first image.The rapture of matter is in this conjurative gesture that dared to claim its identity.The artist did not forget the sacred time when Orpheus with his lyre dragged the trees and beasts in his wake.Her vast paintings tell a story in which man never ceases to be present.She evokes with modesty the abyss where hidden things are hidden.

The cosmic world of Grataloup is the reflection of the original matrix.The artist tries to hide their complex and mysterious texture from the mineral and the plant by multiplying the rubbing and forms cut out and reported, the fragments of metal and gold leaves, the stencils mixed with the work of acrylic and oil pastels.In an alchemy, matter fits the dream of the mind.This fertile organic painting is in turn a ploughed field, foam, rock strata or alluvial plains.The thickness of the material has a symbolic dimension.The pictorial surface is alternately microcosm and macrocosm of the terrestrial ground as of the firmament.The fragmented territories of the 1998 Homage to David Caspar Friedrich gave way to the virginal immensity of Eden in 2001.


The splendour of blacks, gold and cerulean blues rejoices the eye.The color is inseparable from the quasi-physiological flavor that permeates this painting.In the articulation of spatial planes and openings, it intervenes as a source of a perspective that is only suggested because it is internalized.The unlimited aspires our gaze to the point of making imperceptible the illusory figuration to allow a simulacra of abstraction to emerge.The human presence delighted by the divine is rendered with an intensity contained in the sequel to "Massabielle" and the evocation of Bernadette Soubirou, attempts to visualize the supernatural light in an interior space.

The staging of the work of Guy-Rachel Grataloup, including some monumental pieces, is perfectly successful.The tent of the Prophet of 2001, 3 m high, entirely covered with small gold leaves representing a surface of 16 m2, seals the duality of shadow and light, inside and outside, of night and day, of mystery and revelation.Here, the silence is stronger than the agitation as evidenced by the hieratic tree in Matrix-tree of 1998-2001.

Text written by Lydia Harambourg in the Gazette de Drouot of 5 April 2002 on the occasion of the exhibition Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpétrière, 47 boulevard de l'Hôpital, Paris 13 and the release of the monograph Grataloup by Enrico Navarra


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