2007 - Vincent Ravalec (writer)

The materialization of the prisoner's syndrome on canvases of different sizes of which some are covered with sand of stars may produce retinal distorsions

At the beginning, there were only a few sparse pieces. The room is large, white and the light enters through a triangular opening with its apex pointing downward. The floor is tiled and a crystal ball has been placed beside a collection of objects – the Joshua Tree, Saint-Exupéry’s plane – held in a metal mesh. There are also some paintings of different sizes leaning against a wall.

In another room are books, some of which seem to hold secrets only of interest to few people. Maybe they are too complicated or just too simple and in any case, certainly outside the grasp of many people, and the man who lives here, a prisoner awaiting his release sometimes regrets that this is so.

He himself knows not why he is there nor when his imprisonment will end. He knows only that in order to evade the traps of a long expanse of time that is not his own, he must solve a puzzle of which the elements are around him and which mix what we commonly call space, memory, shapes and origins.

He has a certain number of elements at his disposal that are like pieces of a puzzle that he must forge as he goes along. For this, he has an impeccable technique and pieces of history that he must intermingle. Mixed among memories reminiscent of a strange descent of asteroids in orbit around forgotten stars and the light of this past time they show up everywhere at the edge of the pictures he is painting calling on the elementary spirits that populate our planet and guiding them to the celestial vault, lifting our gaze toward a complexity of the world permanently placed before us but of which we have forgotten the keys.

Each work is therefore a door to the understanding of existence and its possibilities. If it flirts openly with myth, it is not like a fixed representation offering outlines already acquired in the course of the painting but more like a boat making its way to barely discernible shores. They mix with a conception of the classical world ways of seeing and becoming where inconceivable abysses interweave.

The prisoner is awaiting the judges’ favourable verdict. He knows the paintings must be seen and that they take on their dimensions in their physical materialisation. He has patiently marked out some fields of force and mixed them with sand fallen from the sky. Paradoxically, the result is immaterial.

He draws the gaze deep into a hypnotic circumference that goes beyond the horizon and leads the eye into the interior of the natural layers of the world’s memory, of vanished systems or the magnetism making up for the still primitive emergence of material form.

If all goes well, it’s what the visitors should notice without necessarily expressing it.

What, by contrast, they will not know, is that, in fact, by his paintings, the prisoner has tried, using materials from the shore, to make a raft enabling him to leave this dimension.

Obviously formulated in this way, there is reason to smile.

Leaving with Eve

For the stars

With the paintings

It’s inconceivable.

Yes, if one still thinks the Earth is flat and the Sun revolves around us.

But if you take a good look at the paintings of Guy-Rachel Grataloup, they will tell a completely different story.

A place where world geometry is not fixed.

And, indeed, even if it is difficult to comprehend, this is perhaps why there are paintings.

Vincent Ravalec