Pastels and collages from the 1990s-2000s

18 April 2018 - 19 April 2018

Via dell’arco di San Calisto 40, Roma

In the painting of the Italian primitives, the golden background which lies behind the represented scenes designates the divinity which wraps around everything and rules over human destiny like a sovereign judge. But as centuries went by, this golden background moved backward, became smaller and further away. Birth and death, gestures from daily life, relations and human emotions penetrate more and more this space and its perspective. This pattern will culminate during the Renaissance in famous works which still adorn churches or are now in museums.


From a distance of centuries, Jean-Marc Felzenszwalbe’s pastels tell a story which unfolds at first sight the other way around: the story of an artist whose work, initially influenced by Russian constructivism, set itself free from figures, shapes and perspective. Jean-Marc Felzenszwalbe has little by little stripped his works bare and reduced use of lines to its most simple expression. A limit, an edge, a separation.


However the disappearance of shape does not entail a coming back to the golden background of these Italian primitives. In his pastels, colours call upon us by their sensuality, their intensity, their versatility. Impressions of fabric, of moire, of abyss created by the encounter of the artistic gesture and a friable, fragile and subtile material… Those pigments resonate with the various lights of day.


As I saw them for the first time, I remembered a beautiful series of installations by the American artist James Turrel. It had taken place in 2015 in Houghton Hall (Norfolk). In his work, Turrell uses light and projects it on surfaces in order to arouse an emotion, a sensation, a resonance in the viewer. Perception of light, even in a monochrome, changes, amplifies, contracts, has rhythm and volume. I have found in those pastels - though different by their technic and their effects - the same attempt which puts Jean-Marc Felzenszwalbe at the avant-garde.


Extract from the catalog published along Jean-Marc Felzenszwalbe’s solo show held by the gallery in Rome in April 2018.



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