MANN – Ink on Paper, 2013 – 2015
Painter and poet, Théodore Mann was born in Lyon (France) on February 8, 1985. Self-taught, he started to paint on wood using scrapped materials that he found in the cabinet workshop he regularly visited since he was eighteen years old.
When I met the artist for the first time in October 2014, he had, more than a year earlier, embarked upon the production of a very important series of works on paper, a creative process that the artist qualifies as of “vital necessity” for himself. I was immediately fascinated by what I discovered, by the strength and grace that arise from these drawings. Mostly composed of ink on paper, such works integrate irruptions of irrational forms as well as more traditional forms like, for instance, his “ approche de la tête” (approach of a head) . In doing so, the artist pushed further the limit of figuration by energetically including in it the strength of the spiritual. Théodore Mann regards the “subject” as fundamental; and only tragic and timeless subjects are worthy of his consideration. The relationship between his art and that of primitive or archaic art seems striking to me. In their awareness they had of themselves and in their disarray in the face of chaos, were not the early men uttering their terror and rage about the tragic of their condition?
Two periods can be distinguished within this stretch of poetical outburst:
- The first extends from 2013 to 2014, a period within which the artist needed to have a well-defined medium—used paper from old books in a rather regular format—to express himself and to deepen his research on lines, gestures and forms.
- The second period, which covers the years 2014 to 2015, corresponds to the final process of his thinking which will lead him to accept his position as a painter. The gesture frees itself regardless of the format or the origin of the medium, provided such medium holds in itself traces of the past.
In setting up the “Galerie Mottet” and the publishing house “Les Editions du Berger” I wanted to give myself the means to defend and to promote in the best possible way the works of artists whom I judge to be promising. Through its potential to amplify the physical and aesthetical relations between readers and the artist’s work, an artist book is a necessary and complementary element of an exposition. Also it fosters the possibilities to better apprehend the work of an artist in a comprehensive way. It is the main reason for the publication of this book: “Théodore Mann: Encres sur papier 2013-2015”.