To Dream, to Collect

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Dissolved, diluted and disappearing images. Brackets, traces and suggestions which create beauty both for our eyes and for our minds. Enter the world of Emmanuelle Castellan’s painterly vision, a place where we are allowed to lose it, before finding our meditative self.

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Born in 1976, French painter Emmanuelle Castellan was initially inspired by the turbulence of the 1980s: the times when social and cultural involvement were enhanced by global mass media, and came alongside with a growing sense of acceptance towards the newest movements, such as the Electronic-pop music culture, Hip-Hop and, in visual arts, Neo-Expressionism and the Italian Transavanguardia

 

Emmanuelle Castellan, Big Sketch for Rainbow Spectacle, 2018. Oil on canvas.

 

Besides all of the key referential elements that can be found in Castellan’s works, what stands out is the artist’s visual language, which is neither abstract nor mimetic, it involves both a representational, hence compositional approach, and a meditative mental dimension for the viewer to enter. The images from which the paintings evolve are described through their disappearance, using a narrative made of traces and scraps, creating a trail filled with leads for the observer to follow and reinterpret. Firstly, involving the hands, through sketches and studies, then involving the mind and working towards the dilution of the primal narrative, Emmanuelle Castellan speaks to the viewer about the duality between disappearance and emergence, using a decentralized representation to create a meditative and mental extension of her imagery. 

 

Emmanuelle Castellan, Discussion in the Painting, 2020. Oil on canvas, cuts.

 

When looking at Castellan’s paintings, the visitor is invited to enter a moment of recollection, during which his eyes are allowed to travel around the canvas, looking for traces and reminiscences, searching for the scraps of an untold story. Filling the interpretative vacuum with his own imagery, the observer enhances the painting’s visual potential, combining the elements of the composition at his will, aiming to create an inedited narration. Through the process of its deletion, the primal image is given the chance to collectivize itself and become something different. The openness expressed by the vagueness of the traces, communicates freedom, giving the viewer the courage to let go into a moment of reminiscence, in which his personal memories and visual recollection, create a new stage for the traces to fill with a new story. The viewer finds himself travelling inside, beyond and between the painting, placing himself simultaneously in front of the narrative, in the middle of it and behind it, while using the elements at his disposal to continue his path within the meditative state. 

 

Emmanuelle Castellan, Ghostwriter Painted, 2020. Oil on canvas, cuts.

 

Expressing beauty, courage and freedom, Emmanuelle Castellan continues to surprise the art world with the depth and maturity of her research, constantly working to create new forms of storytelling, while embracing both figurative openness and the abstraction of thought. In Castellan’s paintings we find a safe place, where to both tell and listen to a beautiful story. 

 

Emmanuelle Castellan, Provisional Pattern, 2017. Oil on canvas, cuts.

 

Cover image: Emmanuelle Castellan, The Tree from Allouville, 2014. Oil on canvas, cuts.

Written by Mario Rodolfo Silva

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