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Carte Blanche to Claude Lorent (AICA) / Marc Angeli "Peinture d'origine naturelle"

January 11th - March 2nd, 2024

Michel Rein, Brussels

Installation views

 - Carte Blanche to Claude Lorent (AICA) / Marc Angeli
 - Carte Blanche to Claude Lorent (AICA) / Marc Angeli



The exhibition of works by Marc Angeli is based on a diverse selection of recent paintings and alabaster stones. It also includes older paintings on wood or canvas, drawings and sets of small pieces in specially designed boxes. The exhibition provides a broad overview of the artist's approach. It is in the heart of nature, in the vast expanses where we can live in retreat from the deafening din of the world, particularly in the Italian Dolomites, that we will taste the primary source of the paintings by Marc Angeli (Brussels, 1954, lives and works in Liège). Vast spaces where you can experience a chosen solitude, a physical contact with nature, its forces and its benefits, a personal renewal in search of plenitude and interiority. This is reflected in little - known works, discreet in their execution, light black pencils on paper. The refined densities of the lead pencil, the delicacy of the more or less elaborate sketches, the evocations of isolated mountains like islands in infinite space - these are impressions felt more than elaborate landscapes. We are reminded of Turner, but in the almost minimal sobriety of graphite, "the stone for writing and drawing", finely dosed. An immediate link with a mineral origin.

Nature is indeed at work throughout Marc Angeli's pictorial approach. On the surface and in matter, as materials and as adjuvants in the pictorial treatments. These include beeswax, red wine for variations in intensity or white, honey, milk in its translucent whiteness, rabbit skin glue as a binder, pigments such as paprika or orange, pollen, gypsum dust and invisible water, but also the unctuous linseed or olive oil chosen for chromatic modulations, and even blood and semen, the elements of life if ever there was one. The subtle blend of these ingredients, finely selected, weighted and combined, varies according to the project and the medium, and is almost an alchemist's ritual, since each result, in its nuances and materiality, is a unique nugget whose preciousness lies in its interiority. It leads to a sense of wonder like that experienced in the heart of a living, harmonious nature, indescribable in its intimacy. The gesture is just as measured and gently restrained in this process. Marc Angeli acts as a deferential masseur, caressing the stone or wood until the tiniest nuance is achieved, the imperceptible transparency of depth. Until a transfiguration is born, a transcendence.

In addition to the mineral materials already mentioned, the most striking of which are the alabaster stones, luminously white and slightly translucent, on which the artist may or may not intervene with infinitesimal grace, there are the generally thick woods, also small in size. Another gift of nature, all the more so because they are found and recycled, brought back to life. Painted on their natural surface, revealing gullies and cracks, unevenness and barely perceptible relief, they are sometimes covered with a linen canvas, a receptacle for the pictorial contribution. Everything about these works, charged with their primary reality as much as with the material and chromatic interventions, is of the order of Baudelairean beauty and his Invitation to Travel in Luxury, Calm and Voluptuousness. A world in itself.

There is something iconic about these works, in that they exude a form of spirituality by virtue of their natural place in the world, by the human element that is embedded in them, by the spirit that inhabits them, by the care and respect they exude, by the energy they radiate, by their ability to embody emotions, by their sheer radiant presence, and by their invitation to introspection. And from them emanates what we might call, borrowing from the language of wine, the part of the angels, impalpable and inapparent. It's a work of dreams (like the stones), we might say, inviting our gaze to become both amazed and interiorised, meditative on ourselves and the world, on the need for harmony, peace and serenity, but also for pleasure and sensuality. Generous works of unspeakable beauty.

Claude Lorent (AICA), December 2023

Exhibition file