Vincent Boulanger Photographe




…The artist has never made the slightest distinction between the figurative and the abstract.  Quite simply, his own approach led him spontaneously to abstraction from 1965/66 onwards.  For him, a work must be embraced in a single glance, like an instant photo or a road accident.  It must give the viewer that trigger, that emotional and visual shock.  He is not one for detail.  Before tackling a canvas or drawing, he first tests many maquettes based on a specific theme, trying to exhaust it in his mind, and his sketchbooks pile up…


Argatti first works on paper or with other ordinary materials, whatever the format or the tool.  What counts is to transfer something personal onto it, to leave an impression, a trace.  He builds. Then, very quickly, he wants to destroy.  So he hacks and he scratches whatever he has just created. He has always done this, almost always.  For many years, all his works have been hacked and scratched.  A sign of permanent dissatisfaction?  Perhaps.  But also of impatience, impatience to finish and to move on to something else.


Regarding the canvas, the artist is fond of large formats.  For several years he has been handling them in series, by theme, based on his own way of looking at things: Cliff, New York, Nudes, music, dance…


In 2005 the reform of the CPE (Contract of First Employment)  and street demonstrations attracted the artist’s attention particularly to the media, giving rise to the series Chaos, which is very much action painting.  Chaos asks questions – and questions us – on the following issue: “How does one get out of the trap of a society falling apart due to its lack of culture?”  Like a sort of life-line which the artist was wanting to offer to Humanity, an open door leading to lengthy philosophical reflection.   Much along the same lines, the painter was drawn to the theme of music in 2006.  Not knowing how to write music, he invented his own scores which, by the way, are on show at the Regional Centre (Hôtel de Région) in Rouen.  Throughout 2007, Dance followed.  The pictorial work was built up slowly, inspired by the numerous shows which had inspired the artist.  The result is very large canvases, which he subsequently exhibited at the Rive-Gauche (Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray), before moving on to literature via the Divine Comedy.  This time, the artist attempted to transpose in an abstract way the countrysides described by Dante.


Then, having studied the “Non Lieux” of Jean Dubuffet’s last creative period, he came up with his own response: the “Other Non Lieux”, total freedom in the strokes and backgrounds, wastelands, Nature finally freed from man and given over to itself.


At the moment and for several months now, he is inspired by and reflecting on the overall and instantaneous vision of a simple newspaper page and, more generally, on media in general: “What lies behind the words and the pictures?  What are they hiding from us?  Where are they leading us?  Where is the lie? Where is truth?”  These are really far-reaching questions to which the numerous answers are often contradictory.


                                                                                                                                                             Elisabeth Le Borgne