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Alain Huck

Relâche IV, 1994-2018
synthetic lacquer on canvas
65.3 x 88.5 x 3.0 cm
In the field of abstraction and painting, the series Relâche (Respite), begun in 1994, seems to be the complete opposite of the series Animal Beauty. The artist has drained it of all subjective, figurative and emotional content; in its place, an abundant, smooth and sensual pigment builds up on two-colour canvases. Offering its pure physical reality, the paint is just barely disturbed by a few runs on the edges, the results of different superimposed layers of colours that coincide with the timeframe granted to the picture.

These pieces echo work breaks for the artist. To empty it of any intellectual questioning, he follows a precise protocol, i.e., casting dice to decide on colours and their eventual place on the surface, he gradually covers the canvas with a synthetic varnish until any gestures of the artist’s hand disappear beneath the succeeding coats of paint and an outside party decides to put an end to the process. The result of both chance and strict rules, the continually reworked canvas acquires an increasingly strong formal presence whilst maintaining a constant state of fragility. The work only exists then in its materiality, which takes shape in a borrowed style – geometrical abstraction – that is intentionally emptied of all originality.

Initially created in 1994, these paintings were repainted by the artist in 2018 in conformance with their own original method.
Alain Huck, Relâche IV, 1994-2018