Collages by Thomas Devaux: the vibration of the borrowed space
Pictorial works, sculpture and photography are above all inventions of their own space, establishing their presence as worldly objects.
A collage is composed of disparate elements or arbitrary gatherings. It is a collection of spaces that must coexist so as to create a new form that unfolds in a space as yet to be seen. The crop (the frame) is certainly the foundational element of a photograph, but it occurs within a singular and coherent whole. Collage, the result of a multiplicity of cutouts arranged upon a neutral surface, must harmonise these disparate elements, but more often than not, the collage is reduced to a pure and simple juxtaposition.
How does Thomas Devaux overcome the obstacles posed by this pitfall? His collages are made up of images borrowed from canonic works, which have themselves been reproduced on the scale of books and which therefore benefit from homogenous opinion, even homogenous material. It would not suffice to harmonise the individual parts within a space composed of shapes. Works of art evolve from ripping, not cutting. Chance arising from the micro-movements of the hand and fingers which can never be completely precise, the slowness of the process, the unevenness and crevices created by the fibres and the depth of the orginal paper install an interspace, a slight imbalance which renders the image solid by fracturing it and confirming its construction.
We cannot disregard the properties of the chosen elements, and it is certain that a hand or face painted by Ingres or Géricault are the result of an aesthetic choice and a pictorial agenda. Yet Thomas Devaux arranges them in such a way as to create a depth and vibration that are usually absent from collage, a technique that generally plays on paradox and contrast. The form that is closed in upon itself, an image that underlies much of his work, accentuates the particular vibration of this space or rather of this collection of borrowed and recomposed spaces. 01/2014 Anne Biroleau General Curator of Photography at the Bibliothèque nationale de France
Anne Biroleau, General Curator of Photography at the Bibliothèque nationale de France