Untitled, 2015

The Quistrebert Brothers  The underside of surfaces  The two brothers, Florian and Michaël Quistrebert, born respectively in 1982 and 1976, have been painting four-handed since 2007, following their graduation from the Ecole des Beaux Arts of the city of Nantes. Being siblings gives them the particular privilege of not having certitudes but rather multiple intuitions, shared in duo, about the expectations of the medium they have adopted. Far from taking refuge in the comfortable doubting attitude of current painting, by practicing in pairs they are driven to re-question - in an empirical manner filled with fantasy - the ambition of modernism that they consider to be far from having exhausted all of its resources. They experiment with freedom of forms, materials and references (from the dark romanticism of their first paintings to the iridescent abstraction of their latest works), in a blend of painting that they handle in the irreverent manner of a Picabia. But they also explore the imaginary worlds of the space occupied by the depiction that they wield on the canvas or screen, with a pronounced taste for what transgresses the frontiers between real and virtual on contact with the multiple interfaces of the digital era. The Quisterbert brothers’ paintings and videos - recently seen at the galerie Crevecoeur (Paris) and Juliette Jongma (Amsterdam) at the Grand Palais during the show “Dynamo” as well as in the show “Post-Op” at the galerie Emmanuel Perrotin - play on the numerous visual effects that have come from this opticalist procedure (animation of surfaces, proprioceptive destabilization) that they combine with curious effects of material (impastos, swellings, projections, …).This is a hybridization that we might qualify as “monstrous” – in the foremost sense of its etymology – a monster of painting which articulates with brio and insolence two vocabularies that the historiography of abstraction had brought into opposition, if not separated (haptic materialism/retinal opticalism). This explosive mix, albeit elusive due to its iridescent effects, dialogues with the corrosive alchemy of a Sigmar Polke in a more brutal version. But it also recalls, just as effectively, the research made by the English physicist William Crookes on the fourth state of material, a “radiant state” (he is the inventor of the famous “Crookes tube” to which we owe a new visual system of “transparency” with the discovery of radiography which is ascribed to him). The brothers’ work is about the obviousness of materials and processes (they do not intend to play on the mystery of making or the confusion of intensions) but also about the transparency, more analogical, of surfaces. Analogy: this term finds surprising resonance in their four-handed work in the face of the current development of simulation. Because analogy echoes the experience of the diversity of the frameworks of reality (between visible and imperceptible, singular and double, micro-world and cosmos), tackling head on the uncompleted project of modernism; opening the field of perception and the imaginary worlds of depiction, only this time, without dogma or empowerment and with an obvious interest in spaces and gaps. A far cry from a simple disenchanted revival of the repertory of abstraction.  Pascal Rousseau