Home Magazine "Intimity" by Frederique Tristant

Through her artistic production based on photographic clichés, the French painter Frédérique Tristant questions the theme of representation and the human perception of the world. 

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Frédérique Tristant is a French artist born in Vannes in 1971, who lives and works in Brittany in the Morbihan.
She is both a specialist in semiotics, holding a doctorate from the University of Bordeaux, and a painter whose training was validated by a degree in fine arts from the University of Rennes.
This double training irrigates her work offering, beyond its graphic aspect, a reflection on the nature of the representation resulting from her university course on the image of the bodies through the tools of reproductions (photographs, videos) and scientific investigation (radiology, scanner, MRI etc).

Frédérique Tristant, Where are you?, 2020, courtesy of Galerie ARS ESSENTIA

From this reflection, she seeks the limit, the tension between the physical reality of skins and bodies and the dreamlike vision that representation offers, and the subtle recreation of this reality in a two-dimensional space materialized by some pictorial layers thinner than the epidermis.
Her work is based on photographic clichés and begins depriving them of their substance before using them as the primary support for the pictorial work. Like a protective skin, the support of these reproductions is sometimes wrinkled, as if it had already lived.
Gradually the paint, often watercolour, will cover this skin, recreate it, substitute, or erase it to allow the spectator to grasp a dimension that surpasses the tangible reality of things: “The wrinkles and folds of the skin-paper anchor my work in the genre of the Vanities operating a clear shift from the photographic to the pictorial. The patterns (flowers, birds, stripes, toile de Jouy, liberty, gingham, etc.) allow me to move from a real person photographed to a fictional character and to refuse the simple decorative aspect. The motif is a Proust's madeleine that makes my work nostalgic and my personal memories universal.”
Her works interrogate both her personal history and her own nature and femininity. In addition to this almost psychoanalytical aspect, her works, as a mirror, question us about our reality beyond our epidermis.

Frédérique Tristant works in series, each of which addresses a particular problem of the representation of the world.

Frédérique Tristant, "Dancing", 2018, courtesy of Galerie ARS ESSENTIA

The "Intimate" series, currently presented at Galerie ARS ESSENTIA, interrogates the mystery of each person, the search for an elsewhere to find oneself, but also the truth specific to each person that the gaze alone cannot bring us.
In the series "Roman-photo", images of advertising break away from their outdated, glamorous, and conservative meaning on the role assigned to women, to allow us to challenge these consumerist clichés.
The "motifs" series, by superimposing both floral backgrounds and photographs, questions the filter of our memories, and the associations that our senses give to past events.
By questioning the representation itself, Frédérique Tristant's painting interrogate our humanity and our perception, through the five senses, of the world.
The viewer must not stop at the simple pictorial technique, or at the "way" of painting to appreciate this demanding work, but he must accept to be carried away in the reflection that the artist proposes to us.

Cover image: Frédérique Tristant, "Foliage", 2020, courtesy of Galerie ARS ESSENTIA

Written by Cedric le Borgne, Galerie ARS ESSENTIA

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