artworks by Clement Davout

Born in 1993 in Flers, France, Clément Davout currently lives and works in Paris. The artist paints shadows of plants. In a short text presenting his work, he writes that he practices a painting "with a figurative tendency". The expression is remarkable, it places the work in an in- between, a grey zone. The shadow is not the motif itself but its projection. The shadows painted by Clément Davout are diffuse, evanescent, mobile, and are therefore not so much drawing as "matter that aspires to form", as Hubert Damisch puts it in relation to the cloud.

The artist, who has removed black from his palette, associates these shadows with a background painted in the same shades of color, the variations of which restore a diaphanous luminosity. One might think that Clément Davout paints paint. Conversely, one could dwell on the subject of these works, the choice of this domesticated nature which refers to the immediate environment in its simplicity and banality. But the essential is perhaps more in the tension that this approach produces with the image. Working with photographs, these projected shadows become colored vibrations of the pictorial material, they are then inscribed as a fragment in a surface whose color corresponds, in painting, to a color chart obtained by placing the work on Instagram. In this back and forth, it is a question of bringing back into painting what could only be an image with the regime of diffusion that currently defines it.

We can understand to what extent this practice is inscribed in today's world as a form of discreet resistance. In a world that claims transparency, where everyone is an actor through social networks and where a univocal relationship to things prevails, the choice of the shadow can only be a challenge. It is the choice of the troubled and the uncertain, of the repressed and the elusive.

Romain Mathieu (Après école Biennale Artpress)

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