Clément Rodzielski – The Spit and Image

Clément Rodzielski is a painter. Images are at core of his practice: he appropriates their material qualities and gives them a new lease of life.

In the now almost ancient days of film photography, there was a moment between shooting and developing when the reel, although already marked by light, didn’t show anything. The image was there but it was invisible – it was said to be ‘latent’. The mercury fumes only revealed the print at a later stage of the process.

Clément Rodzielski’s work could be described as ‘mercurial’ since it involves the revealing, and sometimes the production, of latent images and compositions. With different gestures (printing, painting, isolating, blowing up, cutting up, doubling up, spray painting and so on), he exposes omnipresent images that we tend to overlook. Our blindness has to do with a kind of indifference, a lack of interest for images in constant circulation and a lassitude of their perpetual availability. In stark contrast to this visual apathy, Rodzielski is always alert. For him, the sign is everywhere and if one is not careful, it will escape us and disappear forever.

Sans titre (Cary Grant) (2009) is a series of postcards of the eponymous actor. One of them is labelled with a cross on a bit of Sellotape, a mark made by the postcard seller to remind himself that his stock was coming to an end. The cards are displayed on a narrow green shelf echoing the image’s colour scheme. Rodzielski is dealing here with a found sign. The same idea governs his large black panels installed in staggered row (Sans Titre, 2008). They are inspired by a game consisting in filling the squares of a page with colours without ever using the same shade for adjoining ones. When it’s impossible, the squares are blackened. It is these signs of failure that Rodzielski decided to reproduce in three dimensions – proof that an available sign can turn out to be a good composition.


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