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Painting 277 x 306 cm, March 2, 2009


Know how to let go

From the 1940s, Pierre Soulages made black his favorite color. For decades, he produced abstract works, sometimes close

of calligraphy, whose strength rests on a

Subtle contrast between the black of the paint and the

white of canvas or paper.


One night in January 1979, while working on

a large-format canvas stretched out on the floor of

his workshop, he feels a deep feeling

of failure. For several hours he has been struggling

on the work, add black, remove it, put it back...

without achieving the desired balance. The black has invaded the

cloth. Weary and exhausted, he throws in the towel and goes to rest. On his return to the studio, as his eyes land

          on the painted surface, a

          obviousness imposes itself on him: the black generates his

          own light. Or rather it reflects the light

          ambient, and the effect varies depending on the

          how the paint was applied,

          its consistency and shine. Therefore, he

          will paint by completely covering his canvases

          of black to work the material like a

          sculptor, by streaking it, smoothing it, modeling it.

          He thus creates monochrome bas-reliefs offering a unique sensory experience.


Walnut stain on paper,  1973

What we can take away:

When a problem seems almost insoluble to us, we often get bogged down in counterproductive relentlessness. We could, however, choose to let go and postpone our reflection: the way we look at the situation will then be different... and undoubtedly more fertile.

Related theme: Creativity
Related topic: Method
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