Friday, July 17, 2009

Erik Desmazières

Passages Parisiens

I celebrated my birthday with Erik Desmazieres, and some of my very good friends in Savannah. Okay, Erik did not drop in from Paris and blow out candles, but we did very much enjoy seeing him walk about his city, Paris, inspired by its expressive architecture, make drawings, and painstakingly transform the drawings into etchings, in the film Les Paris d'Erik at the Telfair Museum's Jepson Center for the Arts. We were in on the whole fascinating lithographic process through his eyes, with his printer Rene Taze. Aquatint, roulette, open bite...I'm not sure I understand it all but my respect for the art of making a lithograph is escalated. The minute and meticulous cross-hatching of the plate creates contrast, depth and texture beyond the limits of graphite or paint. Lithography is such a real, tactile process that really engages the eye, mind, and hand - then produces a print by a rustic-looking contraption of rollers and wheels. It seems like a hybrid of drawing (though on metal) and the making of photographic prints.

The exhibit is his first solo in the USA and runs until October. I am drawn to the imaginary architectural worlds Desmazieres creates. The same qualities of arcitectural magnitude and whimsical detail are inherent in the wonderful rooms as well as the cityscapes. I can throw myself into these images, these real and imaginary places, and explore them at a dizzying variety of scales. The cities conjure images of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities. Studio Louis Icart, 1980Atelier Rene TazeImaginary City II, 1999
Salle Bibliotque Nationale, 2001

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