Ce pli de sombre dentelle, qui retient l’infini, tissé par mille, chacun selon le fil ou prolongement ignoré son secret, assemble des entrelacs distants où dort un luxe à inventorier, stryge, nœud, feuillages et présenter.* (Stéphane Mallarmé, Quant au livre, 1897)
The critique of the artist as genius and his “reportage universelle” (Mallarmé) constitutes one of modernism’s main projects. The departure that took place with Mallarmé in the core of language is also applicable in painting. Bernard Frize came of age artistically in the 70s, he was influenced by the theories of conceptual art and political-economic production. His works arise under experimental conditions and elude hermeneutic interpretation.
In the way he makes his working process visible Bernard Frize is a conceptual artist. He acts in series which are based on the most diverse arrangements, acts as an operator who delegates actions to colors and paintbrushes – often guided, “conducted,” by several hands at once.
Bernard Frize’s paintings derive from “musical scores” which consciously incorporate coincidence and carry the works to the extremes of the non-accidental and determinable. Construction and process are inscribed in the fabric as the possibility of folds, knots, threads, and hidden continuations. In his compositions both material and execution play key roles within the ensemble; in the result they are action made visible and at the same time an optically seductive experience of color.
* The fold of dark lace encompassing the infinity of the universe is woven by thousands, each – according to the thread or continuation that leads to some secret place – producing widely spaced patterns – ornaments, knots, foliage – an untouched repository of luxurious “excess” waiting to be explored and catalogued.