Paul Muguet

Espace 14, Nîmes Francia. Febrero 2015

(hoja de sala de la exposición)

Continuing his formal research that combines pictorial experimentation with written words, Paul Muguet has created a series of paintings mixing words and colors, which constantly react to visitors as they move around his show through tonal changes on their surface.

The words are taken from texts by Bento Spinoza (1632-1677), the philosopher who articulated the relationship between individual freedom and the inevitable determinism that conditions “being.” In these works, Muguet articulates the relationship between the concepts of substance and essence, and desire and signs to evoke the interconnections linking terms such as body and soul, and extension and thought in the philosopher’s works.

Muguet has created paintings in the shape of words, which makes them palpable, like objects offered up to the sensorial experiences of the viewer. For this series, he has invented a new typography based on isometry, a particular type of perspective that preserves the distance between any two points in their transcribed image.. His allusion to geometry reminds us that it is the discipline from which Spinoza borrowed the method he used to write his Ethics.

The blurriness of these pieces makes them hard to read at first glance, offering us something like signs that take time to decipher. As long as our comprehension of them remains incomplete, there is a vagueness of meaning that mirrors the tonal fluctuations in the colors. In this way, Paul Muguet forces us to suspend the process through which we recognize a common thing (in this case a word), to make us pay attention to the sometimes hesitant development of thought and what precedes our clear interpretation of a thing.

Opening the formal vocabulary of his typographic paintings, the artist unveils a new configuration for his works by tipping them over and hanging them horizontally. On a black lacquered surface in the shape of the word signs, we discover various objects referring to Spinoza’s life, including lenses, optical devices like a camera lucida, which was used by painters in the past to more easily reproduce visible phenomena, and other scientific artifacts related to the study of light, such as Crookes radiometer.

Through this process, Muguet brings himself closer to Spinoza’s job and philosophy. It is as if between his work as a lens polisher – in which precision and transparency were essential – and his profession as a philosopher, he had only one goal in mind: to shed light on and make visible tangible phenomena and things, using them to articulate an intelligible vision of the world.

Artist residency sponsored by the Association Étant Donné, Nîmes, France October 2014-- January 2015