“Aux songes infidèles”: the fascinating exhibition by Benjamin Defossez at the Boisanté gallery, in Montpellier

“Aux songes infidèles”: the fascinating exhibition by Benjamin Defossez at the Boisanté gallery, in Montpellier
“Aux songes infidèles”: the fascinating exhibition by Benjamin Defossez at the Boisanté gallery, in Montpellier

The Clémence Boisanté gallery, in Montpellier, exhibits around forty paintings by Benjamin Defossez. A work of successive and alternating layers of paint and varnish of great delicacy and singular power.

A year ago, Benjamin Defossez was one of the 122 artists selected for the MO.CO manifesto exhibition. “Immortelle”, on young French figurative painting. Five small formats among the more than 350 works presented… and one of his own which was chosen to illustrate the cover of the catalog. Luck had nothing to do with it, but the singularity of its inspiration, but the beauty of its execution, but the durability of its fascination… Since then, the Montpellier gallery owner Clémence Boisanté has shown it in several group exhibitions… before what is a small event: “Aux songes infidèles”, the first solo show by Benjamin Defossez (at least in Montpellier) to see until June 1st.

The forty works brought together belong to two series, Attempts And Temptationswhich testify to the same search for transparency, the first on a wooden support, the second on rhodoid or x-ray.

Mainly represented, the first consists of the artist interposing layers of paint and layers of varnish on his wooden board. And thus progress towards a destination which, taking into account the distortion of the trajectory due to the hazards specific to each stage, each stratum, always turns out to be different from the original intention.

Hopper, Bacon, Lynch

“I paint, in successive layers, overlapping moments, with no other purpose than the desire to capture the energy and desire of the moment. If the painting contains meaning, it must be revealed a posteriori , just enough to weave a thread between two works and find sufficient reason to start again”explains, in the press kit, the artist, just fifty years old, based in Valenciennes. “A way of creating by being as close as possible to the laws which, it seems to me, between struggles and symbioses, govern everything that surrounds us,” he said this time in the catalog of the “Immortelle” exhibition. When I paint, I try never to stray too far from Democritus’ quote: “Everything that exists in the universe is the fruit of chance and necessity.””

Often modest in size, his paintings encourage you to come even closer and, inhabited by a kind of peaceful silence, invite you to prolong your contemplation. Then the painting becomes a window, and in the depth of the material and the bizarreness of the representation, the magic operates: beyond the glass of the varnish, the scene comes alive, pulsating with a mysterious life. Lakes, clearings, forests, rivers… In the game of references, we could talk about Edward Hopper, sylvan and bucolic haunted by silhouettes of Francis Bacon, photographed by David Lynch and printed on glossy paper. But we much prefer to talk about Benjamin Defossez, and talk about him a lot, and talk about him for a long time.

Until June 1, at the Clémence Boisanté gallery, 24 rue Alexandre, Cabanel, in Montpellier. Open Wednesday to Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., or by appointment. 06 10 03 86 82. [email protected]

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