Yves Gaucher (1979)

“Yves Gaucher,” Artists Review, 2:17 (May 23, 1979), p. 4 [corrected reprint of 2:16 (May 9, 1979), p. 10.].

Yves Gaucher

Calm, meditative works. What have they to do with us who want convulsions?
Gaucher's paintings enact that belief in the power of the symbol: the containment of the experience and resolution in the identity between the work and the spectator in the symbolic space of the art gallery.

How do we displace this symbolic relationship to one of contiguity, where we are peripheral to the event, sliding along it as a separate but contiguous part, decoding ourselves in this issue? The question is to change the symbolic relationship between the work and spectator to one that is contiguous between individuals in a group, parallel and asymmetrical to the work, instead of direct and identical. It is a matter of the release of a mechanism into the contiguous: a release, not a revelation; an issue, not the thing itself.

Perhaps "there never was any 'perception'," nor temporality. Gaucher's paintings and the temporal space of the art gallery remove us from the proper spatiality of our bodies. Before Gaucher’s yellow and red Jericho: Variation, the intense experience of that unlimited space of colour carries me away from my body through eyesight alone. And then I am left in my body again, left to my death. The return, the return to my body is death, my death, being the return from the surpassing of limits to limits once again. But this movement between the two events (the experience and the return) is also a surpassing, the real transgression, in a movement of intensity of two states. The return to my body is death, but it is not the death of limits; it is my proper death. I am in front of my proper death. It is the loss of my body (death) in its return, in movement and intensity. The experience of our proper death is what Gaucher's paintings deny. They offer only the false death of identity, of repetition, not the dissolute death of release and issue. His paintings are justified as phenomenological works—hence the turn to the body's temporality. But this promotion of the experience of temporality is only the most recent of abstractions created from the meditative space of the art gallery, while outside we are condemned to the political technology of our bodies, to inscribing spatiality. Who creates the "truth" of our bodies? It is not phenomenological Minimalism, Postminimalism nor Gaucher's paintings.

"A successful work of art is one that has attained formal equilibrium and a resolution of tension," states the catalogue on Gaucher. In reaction, all that is left to us in our bodies in the willed loss of control and usurption by cataclysmic desire.