Simon Rayssac

Je suis heureux... il fait soleil

    [I'm happy... it's sunny]

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  View of the studio. On the wall: Le Peintre et son problème technique, 2020. Technique mixte on canvas & La louve, 2020 (detail). Acrylic and oil on canvas, 140 x 170 cm .
On the ground: Deux chiens endormis à l’ombre d’un arbre, 2018. Acrylic on canvas, 140 x 170 cm (detail). Photo : ÉF

  La Cueilleuse d’abricots, 2019. Acrylic on canvas, 140 x 170 cm. © Simon Rayssac & private collection.

  Grande étude d’éclairage (pour plante verte), 2018, oil on canvas
140 x 170 cm © Simon Rayssac

Text written for Documents d'artistes Nouvelle-Aquitaine
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Simon Rayssac

Dear painters,
Let us abandon ourselves without dela to the pure kisses of the air, to the benefits of the sea, let us nourish our thought first, then our bodies, let us taste the fruits of space, the perfume and the sounds o of colours, let us sublimate our ideas (...)
Lady painting always young, I give you my heart, I give you my body. Long live you! I love you!
These words from James Ensor to his fellow painters and to the paint materialise the multiple ideas and emotions that surround my vision of Simon Rayssac's work. work of Simon Rayssac.
The artist offers works as stories, revealing "little things" that make the that make life shine around Doctor P's cat, on the singular mystery of a series of dancing sticks, with studies (which are not studies) of hair, carp, misty sky, fish fur intermingled. He focuses on the fleeting nature of things, because there is an urgency to paint.
A vital impulse emanates from him to create quickly, strongly, a lot, to paint endlessly when the day is good. One day, one canvas, two formats. Never stop. Observe nature, fauna, flora. Do it until the end "because we are all going to die".

Things circulate in this abundant work and the emotion can be intellectual, raw or visceral. His approach requires involvement, feeling his body as a viewer take the measure of that of the painter; his gestures, the strength, the vibrating mass of the one who confronts the canvas when he works. "To see up close"2 the commas of the brush, the foggy areas, the sensual fatness of the material, the vaporous appearances and the absence of perspective through the almost constant presence of flatness.
With him, colour carries you away. It deludes and agitates.  If the palette can sometimes be restricted in a painting, it is a great chromatic blaze that criss-crosses the whole of his work. The joust between the cinnabar red and the green of Grande étude d'éclairage pour plante verte (2018), the lost memory of the bright orange and ultramarine blue of a fine rain on the dune, the exaltations of yellows, greens, ochres, browns and pinks, the ashen shades of nights with wolves3, Étude de corbeaux (2019) and Dans la buée (2019), right up to the purplish crests of the winter hills of the Aveyron; everything makes the heart, the memory, and the belly speak.
The word arrives before the canvas is born. The title as a founding element of the work remains for the artist a working protocol. In number, they become poems, invite and direct the gaze and the imagination, direct the style, figure the forms, structure the false abstraction. Just like the series, variations regularly punctuate the productions on canvas or paper. Repeating the motif until the subject is exhausted.

A new temporality arrives in the artist's way of working: to review, to leave for a break, to repaint rather than to fly4. Recently he has been practising protocol deviations, accepting the resumption of certain works, changing formats, framing canvases with painted rods, like a new fiction. He allows himself.

It is by lending his body to the world that the painter changes the world into a painting.5 In the One Night Stand videos6 the body runs or is static in the midst of others' works. Its voice - a unique and singular tool - its oscillation, its primal melody between scream, mystical song and shamanic modulation, allows at the same time to evoke appeasement, fear and jubilation. It summons memories, provokes recollection. The artist is there, naked and moved in the world.

Simon Rayssac's multi-sensory work is often about memory. The melancholic memory of joys to come and happiness lost, of recent times in Assèynes and the universal memory of a return to nature, a lure as much as a compass. Contemplative in front of some paintings, happily destabilized in front of others, I often hear music, which I sing in the street or simply hum...
I am happy... it is sunny
And nevertheless...7

— Émilie Flory
Rome, July 2021

1. James Ensor, Ma vie en abrégé in Parlons forte langue claire et verte, trempée à chaud et à froid, cimentée d’adjectifs retentissants, Éditions Marguerite Watkine, 2021
2. Daniel Arasse, Histoires de peintures, Éditions Denoël, 2004
3. Reference to the 3 paintings of the artist: Loup sortant du bois (2018), Loup sortant du bois (2018) and Louve (2020)
4. Reference to the artist’s video Vol de croutes (2017)
5. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, L’Œil et l’Esprit, Éditions Gallimard, 1964
6. Simon Rayssac, One Night Stand CAPC (2007) and One Night Stand Garage Mu pour Titanix(2018)
7. The title and the last words of this text are verses by Jean-Roger Caussimon, from the song Il fait soleil, 1975


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