Texts / Horizon of Expectation

Jean-Rémy Papleux’s work falls within the classical history of the model in painting. Frontality, the female models, his light approach and his choice of monochromatic backgrounds are like primary horizons for the suggested aesthetical experience.

Regarding the outlines and the light treatment, the classical references in painting are immediately conveyed.
From the well-known L. Da Vinci’s Sfumato to the equally famous G. Richter’s paintings, the treatment of characters and shapes belongs to the henceforth-classical history of the figure between the fixed image and the moving one.

Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that all its variations and corrections have a modifying impact on the genre and thus propose new boundaries. Papleux does not settle for being a painter in a classical way. He works with contemporary tools, offering the figure some perspectives of existence out of the frame.

The videos displayed on the monitors are like frames in the light of those that are painted on chassis. The characters from the pictures embody links to a universe that has already been lived. They are like stills and figures taken from the hurry of the present time. Each composition shows the figure through the triple horizon of experiences (1).

Phenomenological time and the intimate awareness of time are revealed through the painted image as photographic or videographic sequences. It leads to the development of one pictorial terminology centred on our perception of time. Every outline seems to become an emblem to that soul distension between the present and the past (memory), the present and the present (attention), the present and the future (2).

The figure is the central topic in the paintings: it is both a psychological topic and an indicator of our reality – every work is entitled with the model’s name -, but it is mostly an indicator of our relationship to time, which is a metaphysical issue.

Jean-Rémy Papleux questions the status of the picture with a different approach as concerns painting. Every image carries out a new horizon. The silhouette over an almost neutral background provides some particular connection with the present, both universal and unique. Through its relation to our contemporary horizon, his painting turns out to be both an attention to time and a time for attention.

Cécile Marie


Cécile Marie is an art critic and a member of AICA.
As an exhibition curator, she presented Jean-Rémy Papleux’s work for the first time in Paris in 2004 at the « Sur le Front » exhibition, along with artworks by Marc Chevalier, Mounir Fatmi, Luc Léotoing, Florent Mattei, Audrey Nervy, Eric Tabucchi, Cédric Teisseire, etc.

1: Husserl, Idées directrices pour une phénoménologie, § 82, ed. Gallimard, coll. Tel, traduction Paul Ricoeur, p. 277-282
2: Saint Augustin, Les confessions, livre XI.

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