I made this drawing on invitation at the Musée du Luxembourg, in Paris, during the exhibition dedicated to Jean-Honoré Fragonard. A few days after the November 2015 attacks, in a militarised and frightened Paris, I sought an evening of peace in the drawing. Given my state of mind, my drawing was reduced to a single panel, where I represented the works, their sensuality in a context so contrasted with the situation I was in. I wanted to represent in the work also to the other artists present, considering our work, like the works we study, an act of resistance against barbarism and obscurantism.
You killed your European son You spit on those under twenty-one But now your blue car’s gone You better say so long Hey hey, bye bye bye (Lou Reed)
It is a wooden panel that you see, a found object that attracted the artist’s interest because of the reflections of natural colours that it gave off. The intervention is given only by the yellow stain, the sky-blue strip on cardboard, the three red dots on the already existing holes, the blue plastic cartridges on the nails, which also already existed, the choice of the frame, in terms of material and size.
The reference to the raw material is obvious. An original material that speaks for itself.
The minimal intervention dominated by pre-existing presences, and therefore by chance, is a fundamental reference for the artist.
The rudimentary, unfinished, imperfect, but unique, inescapable and definitive act. Disregard for conventions and style. The respectful dialogue with the material and the intrinsic and original form of the work.
A photographic image obtained without the use of a camera, by placing objects on a photosensitive surface (paper or photographic film) and then exposing it directly to light.
Inspired by the work of Man Ray, “Rayography”, from which it takes its name, is a “photograph obtained simply by placing the object between the sensitive paper and the light source”. Man Ray says: “Captured in moments of visual detachment, during periods of emotional contact, these images are the oxidations of residues, fixed by light and chemistry, of living organisms. “(quote from Man Ray, Self-portrait, 1963, Actes Sud, 1998). In fact, if you look closely at the little white dot, it is a tiny insect that was passing in front of the light source.
It is not only the eyes of the two women that cross paths on Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photograph, but it is the artist’s own gaze that passes over the famous photograph in a journey that is at once manual, perceptive and analytical.
By studying in a pictorial key the composition of the image, the depth given by the perspective played out diagonally, and the relationships of chiaroscuro, starting from a black and white photograph, rebalanced by colour, Stefano Zago reflects on the dynamics of observation by confronting the perceptive mechanisms of his predecessor. Taking into account the physiological time needed to produce the work, the artist dives slowly and carefully into the depths of the artistic process, producing new results and unexpected discoveries. The use of gouache, an inherently opaque paint, requires a precise choice of colours in order to effectively render areas of light and shadow.