On Isabelle Bonzom's painting text by artist Eric Fischl
American artist Eric Fischl meditates on Isabelle Bonzom’s painting.
In his text, the world-renowned New York painter and sculptor weaves an imaginary dialogue with the French artist.
"Entre nous" *
I stand in front of Isabelle’s painting and believe I hear her whisper in my ear.
- « Entre nous * » she says.
- « Between us? What? » I reply.
- « Regarde * », her soft voice breathes.
- « Look at what? Consider what? », I bark.
- « La scène. Où sommes-nous? * »
I look at her painting and say under my breath, « We are in a park. I don’t know where. It must be Spring. The trees are exploding. Leaves so vibrant, so fulgent, this vision cannot be held accountable to, nor contained by my description. The tree branches cascade, foam and splash like waterfalls. They sparkle like fireworks. Their display lights up the day. Paint takes over from nature. It runs, drips, slashes and slithers, layer upon layer of colors. The artist’s hand, a human hand, taking dictation from a ferociously beautiful Nature, furiously tries to stay up to speed with her transitions, trying to find equivalents: color as light, color as energy, color as noise, gesture as life force. The feeling of need, a need to be, to become what you were meant to be, designed to be, is ineluctably irrepressible and consuming. »
- « C’est tout ? * », she prods.
- « No! », I growl like a petulant schoolboy. « I see more. » « I see people in the park. Some are sitting. Some are walking. Some push strollers. It is a beautiful day. They go about their business. They do not see what we are seeing though it is all around them, almost devouring them. Why do they not see? What greater spectacle is required to arrest their attention? If this celebration of renewal cannot stop them in their tracks, how can they let go, even for a moment, their routines? How can they ever break free from their tedium and ennui? If they cannot experience joy or share it then what must the rest if their day be like? »
- « Souffrent-ils? * »
- « Yes, they suffer terribly but they do not know that they suffer. Because they are in pain, because they have enough, because they have done what they thought they were supposed to do, they do not know that they are suffering. And because they do not know they suffer, I suffer for them. I have become the artist. Become you. I see the world the way you have shown it to me. It is a paradox. The rift that occurs when the conflicts between the inside and the outside of our lives are made visible. You seem to be saying to me, through the vision of your painting: « If you see a leaf on fire, could you understand love? If you see trees explode with the force of a waterfall, but burn hot with desire, would you finally realize that love has consumed you? » »
October 10, 2011 - Published in the catalogue "Traverses".
* In French in the text. Translations: «Between us» - «Look» - «The scene. Where are we?» - «That’s all?» - «Do they suffer?»
Painter Isabelle Bonzom portrays his fellow Eric Fischl, see this series of portraits of Eric Fischl by Isabelle Bonzom. Meanwhile, the American writer, Kathy Borrus, wrote an article about this series in the Fearless Traveler blog.
French artist Isabelle Bonzom has been in correspondence with the American artist Eric Fischl since 2009. Both artists have written on each other’s work. Isabelle Bonzom is the author of a long conversation with Eric Fischl. Read excerpts of this talk published in May 2009 by the website Culture&Cie. The first part of the conversation is entitled The breath and the touch, followed with a second part which deals with shadows in "Ten Breaths". She has also written an essay about the Ten Breaths, Eric Fischl's installation: “Ten Breaths,” a place for experiment and a return to the origins.
© Isabelle Bonzom - 2021