Samuel Richardot “Zweitaktgemisch” at Vin Vin, Vienna
In 1969, the composer Philip Glass published “Music in Similar Motion,” a piece which, rather than obeying the principles of musical development, adheres to an algorithmic structure. Through an additive process, repetitive patterns are layered, looped and – by omitting or adding notes or pauses – shifted in and out of phase. “Music in Similar Motion” is based on a continuous rhythmic measure, over which phase shifting creates melody. With pieces of this kind, Glass was evoking nothing less than a rupture with classical conceptions of musical form, a move whose radicalism included the elevation of musical time to a formal element in itself.
Richardot was born in 1982, and lives and works in the Auvergne region and in Paris. The title of his exhibition – “Zweitaktgemisch” – should be understood in quite literal terms, as a “two-stroke mixture,” a mixture of rhythmic patterns. His artistic practice is based on an exploration of temporal structure, one based on musical understanding, but which overcomes traditional approaches to the representation of simultaneity. In effect, Richardot’s painting reflects structures of time through disjunctive formal arrangements: patterns in geometrical form meet soft, blended color fields, gestural brushstrokes encounter hard contours, the blur of sprayed-on paint converges with clear, template-like forms. At the same time, the direct colors of acrylic-paint forms contrast with areas covered, in gestural style, with thin glazes, as well as with unpainted patches of white primed canvas. Compositions emerge out of this combination of techniques, and from the confrontation of painterly gesture and strict form: levels blend, empty forms arise and sequences create rhythms. In Richardot’s artistic practice, repetition is less a formal basis than a structuring principle, a cadence whose continuity he repeatedly breaks. While his visual language evokes the perplexity of minimalist logic, it also makes use of interruption, in the manner of abstract painting. Richardot composes forms which always refer to their own complement, whether to surrounding space or to raw or negative forms, allowing the separate elements to collide. His paintings are thus constituted by cuts: in his painting process, he repeatedly approaches the precise positioning of these cuts. For the exhibition at Vin Vin, he transposes them into image formats specifically adapted to the gallery space.
Richardot’s work always exhibits a double character: his pictures address temporal and spatial structures, but without treating them purely as material. His works are extremely artificial, but retain narrative aspects; they are rhythmic and intermittent at the same time. Above all, they reject any conception of time and space as an absolute unity. As the philosopher Peter Osborne has shown, the present is characterized by the conflict of “different but equally ‘present’ temporalities.” The potential of Richardot’s paintings resides in the moment of difference they open up: the intensity of the encounter between their heterogeneous elements creates an ambiguity, one which calls traditional categories and valuations profoundly into question.
at Vin Vin, Vienna
until 9 June 2017