Diaz Contemporary is pleased to be hosting an exhibition of works by Francine Savard, Suite, which she also affectionately calls “the boxes.” The show presents Suites, a set of nine works; Je déballe ma bibliothèque, a series of five small pieces; Suite #19, a large, almost rectangular work; and Élément 17D and Élément 19B, which may appear to be exceptions because they are not painted, but mainly because their 25 cm depth makes them seem like objects hung on the wall instead of paintings. This detail aside, all the works can be considered monochrome shaped canvases.
The characteristic feature of Francine Savard’s work is clearly the poetic precision which she brings to her investigations of painting. In this show, she addresses “the painting” as an operating structure.
And she gently works it over, as we are wont to do with those we cherish. Élément 17D and Élément 19B reduce it to an object; Je déballe ma bibliothèque obliges it to be a series; with Suites, it is swallowed into the effect of a gaping abyssal dark and in Suite #19, it is replaced by the almost physical presence of a body. There is no question that “the boxes” erode our idea of a painting as a flat surface covered with pigment. But a certain truth is revealed through these friendly prods: the disappearance of painting would be a loss; the extent of the void it would create is perhaps not fully appreciated.
From its invention in the 15th century by Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi, from Alberti’s description of it as an “intersecting veil,” from the desire of Nicolas Poussin to “adorn it with some framing […] so that […] the rays of the eye are retained and not scattered outside,” the painting has continuously evolved into that for which it was invented: a place for absence, conditional on even the possibility of seeing. This exhibition is definitely a tribute to “the painting”; one must read between the lines to discover one of the most refined renderings of its theory. - Jean-Émile Verdier