Monaco Modern'Art Gallery, in collaboration with the association Art & Environnement, present a selection of monumental paintings by Philippe Pastor together with an original installation of “The Burned Trees”sculptures. These sensitive pieces, conceived as a tribute to Nature, also denounce the current environmental issues, in the era of what some call the Anthropocene. The exhibition is organized around two main series, punctuated by new sculptures in bronze and iron.
At the entrance, the large abstract canvases of the series “Avec le Temps”, form lyrical abstract compositions, which evoke the unleashing of the elements. Natural chaos, storms, tornadoes, these paintings refer here to recent tsunamis and hurricanes. The year 2018 was particularly marked by these disasters. Florence and Michael in the North Atlantic caused a lot of damage in the United States, while in the Pacific Northwest, powerful typhoons killed many people, especially in the Philippines.
The lines of force that cross the canvas, highlight here the process of creation of the artist, who works on large surfaces, on which he applies, throws or delicately affixes the material. Leaning over the canvas, "in" the canvas, Philippe Pastor apprehends it in the manner of the American abstract expressionists working with action painting. He becomes one with the matter. The lines and the energy that emanate from them are similar to the energetic fluxes of the Earth, to the meteorological flows subjected to increasingly contrasted climatic changes.
“Avec le Temps” also bears in its title a very important notion in the work of the artist, that of "time". The time of creation, of the artist's gesture, but also the natural time of drying multiple layers, the time of alteration and patina. The matter get transformed into earth crust, made up of multiple stratas, patiently created by the artist and sometimes crystallized by fire. This electric matter, which vibrates on the surface of the canvas, owes its intensity to the choice of materials.
Indeed, Philippe Pastor uses specific natural pigments, especially in the case of the “Monochrome Blue” paintings. This Mediterranean series is elaborated from natural pigments that the artist fetches in the isolated villages of Mount Atlas in Morocco. He sometimes mixes natural elements, such as leaves or pine needles, and submits them to the same stratification process. Furrowed by subtle cracks, the rugged reliefs that appear reveal new abyssal topographies. The blue color, associated with the afterlife in Egyptian culture, has an almost mystical dimension. It evokes the immensity of the celestial vault, as well as the infinite expanses of seas and oceans to which the artist pays homage. Today soiled and manhandled by the pollution of Man, Philippe Pastor shows us the wounds of the Blue Planet.
In dialogue with these large canvases stand the sentinel figures of another wounded nature, “The Burned Trees”. This series of sculptures, initiated in 2003 following the devastating fires of the Massif des Maures, today echoes the recent Californian tragedy. If the first works were directly carved in the charred trunks of the bruised forest, the artist proposes here an immutable version, cast in bronze and iron. Thanks to these alloys the artist offers an admirable reproduction of the details and asperities of the material having undergone the assaults of fire.The fire, at the origin of dramatic forest destructions, is four times out of five provoked by the hand of Man, whose responsibility is denounced by the artist. This approach, which also can be found in the paintings presented, is more widely related to the particularly critical environmental and social context nowadays, in the era of the Anthropocene, global warming, looting of natural resources, invasive pollution and rising water levels.