To all those intoxicated by the machine and the city, frenzied by rhythm or masturbated by reality, YVES offers a highly rewarding cure of asthenic silence. These strictly monochrome propositions are situated way beyond the unfurlings of alternate worlds that are already so faintly perceptible to our common sense of what is reasonable, probably alongside what is conventionally known as “the art of painting”, in any case on the level of the purest and most essential emotional resonances: each of them marks out a visual field – a coloured space uncluttered by any graphic transcription and therefore eluding duration, devoted to the uniform expression of a certain tone. Over and above the “public” public, that convenient snare, old hands used to Informal Art will agree on the definition of a “nothing”, the senseless attempt to elevate to the power of + ∞ the tragic (and now classic) venture of Malevich’s square. But here the point is precisely that there is neither black square nor white ground, and that is the core of the problem. The aggressiveness of these propositions in various colours, projecting from the walls, is merely apparent. Here, the creator requires of the viewer the intense, fundamental minute of truth without which no poetry could ever be communicated. His presentations are strictly objective. He has avoided even the tiniest pretext incorporation of the coloured spaces into the architecture might have offered. He cannot be suspected of any attempt at mural decoration. The eye of the reader, terribly contaminated as it is by the external object, only recently freed from the tyranny of representation, will seek in vain the unstable, elementary vibration – the sign by which life, the essence and end of all creation, is usually recognized… As if life were nothing but movement. The universal must ultimately be grasped without the aid of gesture or its written record, so I now ask, Where, then, at what level of discernibility, is the locus of spirituality in art? Has dialectical omniscience turned us into thinking mechanisms, incapable of sincere total accommodation? In the presence of these phenomena of pure contemplation, you will receive the answer from the few surviving men of good will.
Pierre Restany, for Colette Allendy, Paris 1956, text for the invitation to the exhibition “Yves, propositions monochromes”, translation Victoria Selwyn for Applicat-Prazan
Note 1: There is no opposition between Informal and Immaterial, so long as they are linked by the connecting thread of talent. (FP)
Note 2: From Wols and Fautrier to Klein and Martin Barré, from Tapié to Restany, I come down on one side, then the other, back and forth, again and again, unceasingly! (FP)