Alberto Cont
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For nearly thirty years, Alberto Cont has been exploring and working on the question of painting and canvas as support. This reflection extended by the practice of drawing and sculpture immediately dismissed the image (or at least the representation) in order to better invest the color, the repertoire of geometric shapes, the material, with what it offers as possibilities and effects. The dynamic is most often that of the series, this one allowing to push the experiment as far as possible by imagining many variations playing on relations of colors or tones as on countless effects of matter. This method halfway between protocol and rules of a game places the artist in the position of initiator and " spectator  " of his project.

The pieces he presents perfectly summarize this approach. In this series of work, the repeated pattern in any format is a sequence of lines.

These lines are obtained from wider vertical strips that the artist will cover with several layers of resin. These thin and translucent layers literally veil the initial composition, obscuring it more or less intensely according to the chosen tone.

The function of this subtle overlap is to act as a revealer: by concealing the bands until they show only thinly colored lines (which seem almost fluorescent), Alberto Cont reverses the proposition. The "  underneath layer  " comes to pierce the color that covers almost the entire surface, generating a halo or a light vibration more or less intense according to the dominant tone. The artist highlights the sensation that results from the contrast between the chromatic intensity of these strips reduced to the line or the ray of light and the tonality posed on the surface of the painting that allows to more or less guess the initial rhythm of the vertical bands.

The reflections remind us of others that have worked similarly through the whole century: from the avant-gardes of the European 1920s (Malevich, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Albers, Delaunay) to American painting (Rothko), but these are the installations of James Turrell, the neons of Dan Flavin or François Morellet, about which Alberto Cont is talking about how color and light gradually imposed itself in his work.

The painting is seen in its vocation of coating, of material which covers the surface simultaneously making appear and disappear the initial image. What persists in the image is expressed through a chromatic sensation, the experimental part of the studio can then gives way to a more emotional approach.

Françoise Claire Prodhon

November 2016

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