Here we see a painting whose shading evolves from top to bottom, from pink into orange. There, another pale green canvas that becomes ever more saturated. Here again, a different painting whose deep blue hue dissolves into almost blackness. There, yet another purple one, adorned with an orange ochre halo or green edges, or perhaps a barely perceptible, diffuse luminescence. Or: how does a blue...
Here we see a painting whose shading evolves from top to bottom, from pink into orange. There, another pale green canvas that becomes ever more saturated. Here again, a different painting whose deep blue hue dissolves into almost blackness. There, yet another purple one, adorned with an orange ochre halo or green edges, or perhaps a barely perceptible, diffuse luminescence. Or: how does a blue grow lighter, how does it become the brilliance of the hue itself in the most natural way possible, as if nothing has caused it, as if it emanated from the color itself. Gilles Teboul's paintings are just so, and nothing else, "her pure nails very high dedicating their onyx": a color which appears and is modulated on a restricted, framed, orthogonal surface in an opposition between the diffusion of the color that creates an unmeasured space and the limit of the painting/object that encloses and frames it – "that in oblivion closed by the frame is fixed". The painting is a limit in limitlessness, sometimes underlined by a slight whiteness at the edges, sometimes a gleam. These paintings do not question – to use a stereotypical reference from art criticism and mediation – nor do they interrogate. They are only a tonality which diffuses, migrates, absorbs light, returns it, is extinguished, or irradiates, changes according to light, asserts itself or abolishes itself. They are just colorful and luxurious phantasmagorias that only reveal what they are.
Though the painting set upon the canvas is indeed material, the spectacle it offers partially denies this materiality, just as the color appears immaterial and denies the matter which contains it. All the more so in that the resinous surface seems to place the color in an ambiguous space. From a distance, the color seems to be on the surface and behind the surface, hidden in the depths of the matter although we cannot locate it. This ambiguity between the background and the surface creates the sensation that the background rises to the surface and that the surface plunges into itself. In such a way, the painting keeps our gaze at a distance, creating distance between the material object that we imagine – the canvas ¬– and the ambiguity about what we perceive – the fantasmagoria. In this sense, the painting is both object and image, something real and unreal. A colorful object is there, dissolving itself and becoming its own image.
It is not an image of the aurora borealis, of a sunset or some other natural spectacle, nor even an equivalent, nor is it a transposition, but a colorful surface which is both itself and all the while, creating its own image of itself, here and there, both here and not there. All of this is amplified by the brilliance of the surface – "This hard, forgotten lake that haunts beneath the frost" –which, while adding a distance to the color, comes to reflect the surrounding space, or you, or me, just as the painting which may be facing it, and it accentuates the idea – first seen of the image as a reflection. The painting of Gilles Teboul is a reality and a reflection, real and reflected, and however much one gazes at it, one is reflected as much as one is drawn within, both upon and within. It is a utopia in the literal sense of the word, without location, in the absence of location – "Ghost whose pure brilliance assigns it to this place".
The object makes itself and unmakes itself, endlessly, in the act of contemplating, shifting continually between the two states, poor canvas object, of resin and pigment and absolute of its own annihilation.
What we see in this, refers to the realization of the works. Gilles Teboul has created a kind of alchemy, a mixture of resin and pigments which he sets upon the canvas spread on the floor, carefully wedged so that it as horizontal as possible. One must wait till the following day for the mixture to yield the color and its modulations and so that the painting – the pictorial object – can become visible to the painter. Even if the result is expected, the mixture, the temperature, a slight declivity, will produce an effect which is not totally predictable – be it successful or not. There is an act of deposition and a moment of revelation. The matter is deposed, material, and reveals itself materially at the same time. The color has finally emerged and fixes itself, has become surface and image. It has appeared and it is what we witness, silent and transfixed by that which is present but unnamable, it is just there.