Press Release 1

Exhibition in CAROUSEL Gallery (PARIS) February 2001

"We should doubt everything, including our tears", reminds Denis CASTELLAS ( born 1951; lives and works in Nice, France ), one of the great clandestine figures of French art, whose objects and paintings reveal an activation of all images. A dictionary of images, as the words put into flow by Marcel PROUST, all images, portraits of hero writers, pictures of sporting heroes, fragments of 'documents of culture ', porn, comics are pushed by the artist into a state of flux:: a flux of images, at first as if drenched, exhausted through various processes: sometimes fixed by the polaroid, furtherly exhausted on the photocopying machine, collapsed, while simultaneously redrawn by hand, a paling of images reminiscent of the various paling operations in the work of Alighiero e BOETTI. But Denis CASTELLAS's techniques of exhaustion, outlined by Thierry de DUVE as ' techniques of innocence ', are far removed from the technique of the 'flatliners' and their exhaustion of the icons and of the painterly fields of modernism CASTELLAS paints paintings like Luis BUNUEL shot movies: as a pyrotechnist of beauty, a great formal elegance to produce such a mining of all certainties. Far from the academism of some painting machines, the work of CASTELLAS is a permanent fight with form: here the paintings, as many theorems of the plastic deflagration attempted by Denis CASTELLAS open as many sections in visibility as in invisibility. In the series of portraits of Fernando PESSOA to be exhibited, Castellas hollows out all of the frail silhouettes of the Portuguese poet, in a gesture recalling the artist's interest for all figures of speed, to the stylists of touch, 'with agility and speed of foot': Jacques Anquetil, Vitas Gerulaitis, John McEnroe, Robert Mapplethorpe, Mozart or Antoine de Saint Exupery. Denis CASTELLAS is against beauty, close against it, awaiting the grace of gestures. The series of paintings drawing the trembled silhouettes of Fernando PESSOA, exemplifying the artist's interest for shadowed figures, is a suite of shaded figures, blued from souvenir. Here the work of Denis CASTELLAS is reminiscent of the lifelong effort of Marcel PROUST: build a masterpiece from the reworking of sensation by memory, deployed in time and in space. The painting of Denis CASTELLAS reads as much an expiration as a defiguration, helping to understand the relation of some of the paintings to the painted spaces from the Far East paintings, or to some open spaces of field painting, painted with bamboo brushtrokes, such as those of Brice MARDEN or of Jean DEGOTTEX. The work of Denis CASTELLAS reminds us that building a painting is like building consciousness, an active process, embodying a generous idea of art, an active practice of life.

Press Release 2

The Funds regional of contemporary art from Bourgogne shows in Dijon paintings of Denis Castellas:

The artist has developed during twenty years worked with raw materials, has for two years the past 2 years explored"art" through painting: no process or method, nor preoccupation with style prevails in his work of art. Many of which are experiments of the representation and of its implementation. The important thing for Denis Castellas seems to be to find greater artistic freedom. While at the same time, in a gesture which could appear anachronistic or misplaced to find the expressive possibilities of painting and, especially, to reject the primacy of the méduim on the energy of his work. The painting is then the place of live experiment of the subject, artist or witness. It leaves an eminent place with for imagination and its drift or through the constraints of its possible spaces (from the plan of monochromic to the various kinds of depths which allow painting and drawing). Of rather significant size (from 2 m to 2,40 m sidewise for the majority), the paintings escape from the grandiloquence and the requirement of seduction, less seeking the approval of the defenders of art than the requirement of singular emotions.

Press Release 3

Maurice Frechuret - Picasso Museum April 1999

In the recent production of the artist however, a propensity to build forms much more structured than of habit, a fascination and a mistrust for great painting and its history bring to reconsider, to enrich, the vision of a work which does not cease surprises. The exhibit at the Picasso museum will show a variety of work of art particularly representative of the work of Denis Castellas since the eighties. It will also show you paintings, drawings and objects which, for the past ten years have marked out the projection of a practice which always wonders about what to make of art wants to say (and can say). The catalogue of 120 pages with a rich person iconography colors and black and white will comprise studies of Thierry de Duve, Emmanuel Latreille and Joseph Mouton. The catalogue of the exposure Co-is published by the Picasso museum and the FRAC Bourgogne. This last will present recent work of paintings of Denis Castellas to the autumn 1999.


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