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" forêt rouge " 2017
" nuages de novembre "
" pâles lueurs " 2017

Jerome Legrand

Samagra Paris Gallery
Roy Sfeir Gallery
Collection Rudolf Greiner Tübingen, Germany
Concorde art gallery
Mr Masayuki Matsutani, Japan
Kasler Collection, Atlanta USA
O 'Neal collection, LA USA

“I have never met Jérôme Legrand, just his paintings. His gallery owner explained to me that he prefers to stay in the shadows. Well. I respect. After all, I haven't met Voltaire, Alexandre Dumas, Marguerite Yourcenar or Henry Miller, or Leonardo, or Goya, or Léger, or Muek ... yet I would have liked. But that didn't stop me from appreciating their work. So, I make a point.

With Jérôme Legrand, it was neither love at first sight nor obvious ... There is a "Nymphéas" aspect to Legrand's work, it requires long-term proximity, to come back to it, to let yourself be to impregnate, to permeate. Time. I'm not talking about the Water Lilies by chance, because Legrand has the same fascination with water as Monet, even if he apprehends it differently. With Monet, water was the receptacle and the diffuser of light, water was the necessary mirror of his subject, light: three hundred thousand kilometers / second. At Legrand, water is the active ingredient. It's slower. Legrand is the painter of water ... perhaps the first painter of water in which sensations and emotions dissolve, a painting that flows like music, like time. There is a musical subtlety about him. Musical and temporal, a pleonasm that I use to say that Jérôme Legrand's painting requires cohabitation, listening.

I don't know what he wants to tell us, his paintings are like haikus, magnificent poems in a foreign language, sonatas, moments of fugitive fossilized life; there is something there which is beyond speech. Water is life, the condition of life and what covers it when it is exhausted, before it springs up again. Water passes over Legrand's canvases and leaves sediments of emotions, things buried deep in the folds of time, stardust escaping from the cosmos, dreams that will never be remembered. Is he a musician, scientist, medium? I am not sure it is of our time. Jérôme Legrand is seated at the edge of a large river, wider than the Orinoco, slow and enigmatic. "

Olivier Delahaye

What is hidden must be made manifest, and what is manifest hidden. In this alone consists the work of the wise.

Bernardus Trevisanus

Apocalypse or epiphany? By bringing these two words together, there is no question of a catastrophe as inevitable as it is imminent, nor of a happy celebration with cake and beans. It is a question, here, of taking these terms in their first, etymological meaning, respectively revelation and manifestation … And it is indeed what it is about in the painting of Jérôme Legrand… At least from the point of view of spectator…

For our painter, it is different. He superimposes, on his canvases, liquid layers, more or less translucent, which partially mask the previous ones, leaving only a few areas preserved from occultation, like so many rocks in an ocean of pictorial matter. Objective coincidence in the sense in which Breton understood it ("the form of manifestation of external necessity which makes its way into the human unconscious") or not? The question remains open… What is certain is that, fluid sheet after fluid sheet, layer after layer, a depth is created which has nothing to that of the traditional illusionist perspective. The painter thus becomes, if we are to believe the 15th century alchemist, a sage, since he manifests (epiphany) what is hidden and hides from us part of what is manifest. We can also consider that his gesture, his action, mirror of his personality, would, in turn, be another form of epiphany. At least if we follow Jacques Maritain when he writes “Action is an epiphany of being”.

If the painter proceeds by constructing the canvas from the back to the surface, the viewer's eye goes from the surface to the background. His experience is therefore different. It is that of a progressive - and necessarily partial - revelation (apocalypse) of what the artist has deposited in the successive layers of his work. Contrary to the painter, the spectator is placed in a voyeuristic position, trying to distinguish or guess what the plastic artist wants to hide from him. Without knowing it, he is led to move his point of observation and to try to analyze the painting from his rear to his front, the work of an archaeologist pushing him to try to find the acting being - the painter - from his traces ... And maybe, finally, there is nothing else to discover than the invisible. These canvases could therefore prove Anaxagoras right who declared: “All that manifests itself is a vision of the invisible. »More still, they would support the thought of this presocratic philosopher according to which the intellect is the only cause of the universe… Of the pictorial universe, at least, in the present case… Jérôme Legrand does not hide it , moreover: "The subject does not exist, it is my own breathing, and my mood which dictate to me the breath, the rhythm, the tone. "

More than an asymmetry of the gaze, I think we should rather speak of semi-permeability of the pictorial material. The image of moucharabieh in the traditional architecture of the Arab countries is essential. Bringing a refreshing air, making it possible to see without being seen… Jérôme Legrand's canvases have these characteristics, especially those whose most superficial layer is white, evoking an eternal spring springing from the frozen grip of winter. The architectural anchoring is sometimes underlined by a vertical monochrome band at the left edge of the canvas. We can also see the mark of a binding encouraging to turn the cover to enter a book whose content remains permanently inaccessible.

The musical dimension is also very present in the layout of the paintings. We read there tensions, relaxations, strettos, developments, variations, modulations, changes of chromatic mode, from minor to major and vice versa. Visually, some canvases appear moreover like pages of musical scores. I find there certain sheets of the manuscript of Pierre Boulez's third piano sonata and, even more, of André Boucourechliev's Archipelagos. The notion of archipelago is moreover very intimately linked to the painting of Jérôme Legrand, with its ambient humidity and its emergence from buried reliefs like so many islets, reefs, accidents that catch and hold the eye ... to sink… The song of the Sirens…

Opacity and transparency… To hide to better reveal… To reveal to manifest an occulted truth… This is what is at stake in his painting.

Louis Doucet , January 2017


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