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Composition, 1970

oil on canvas

33 x 41 cm

In 1970, Tal Coat's paintings bear no resemblance to his early work. Although Composition is dated from 1970, it resembles the post-war movement of the importance given to the material, which is found especially in Dubuffet and Fautrier’ works and which has been nicknamed the "high pastes". The canvas is like a receptacle, a container for the thick material. The brown tones give the impression that the painter has worked with earth, mud, reinforced by the use of oil paint, which gives this brilliant effect. Nature has a very important place in Tal Coat's work, even when he does not represent it figuratively. He considers himself a "natural element" since, like everything else on earth, he is part of the world. But unlike Fautrier, for example, Tal Coat does not work deeply the painting material, but rather in thickness. The canvas is not dug into its material, on the contrary, the latter accumulates and even emerges from the canvas. The clear line in the center of the canvas stands out and forms shadows that are also part of the composition. The material freezes everything: the light, the colors, the form. He doesn't dig, he raises.

Tal Coat is in a permanent search for the figure. Almost paradoxically, in those years he said: "I am becoming more and more figurative". We must therefore understand that he found other ways of expressing himself, not to show the material reality of things but the substantial reality. It is true that in this painting of the formless, a figure stands out in spite of everything: this arc of circle and this point in the middle of the painting. This form can be evocative of different things: a head, a sun, etc. But this outline is not just a figure, because it is neither closed nor circled, the viewer may also have the impression that Tal Coat is painting a sign, like a writing. Composition is a painting of research, not only of pictorial technique, but of figuration: Tal Coat is a painter who questions the way of representing things and who stands out the traditional methods of art history.

In this painting, it is also possible to see the influence that music has on Charchoune. The composition is organized around different strokes, which each, by their color or application, form different rhythms. Like the different movements of a music, or like the different instruments of an orchestra, the color harmonizes on the canvas. Water, which is the other preponderant element in Charchouche's painting, also has its place here: applied by touch, the paint evokes reflections in the water.

The painter scribbles on certain parts of the canvas, such as the foliage of the trees or the reflection of the trees in the Meuse, which breaks with the apparent peace of the scene. Some areas, especially the edges and corners of the canvas, are in reserve, i.e. they are not "finished" to be painted. In fact, the canvas seems to have been painted on the spot, in the middle of nature, and not in the studio, like the Impressionists did at the end of the 19th century.

What does this landscape represent, other than a corner of the Meuse? It gives off a feeling of solitude. It is an empty landscape, almost at a standstill, because that is the role of a lock: to hold back the water and only release it with human intervention. But here, no man is visible. The path along the river is deserted, as are the boats, which seem to be drifting. There is no sign of human presence. The wood along the river is dark, letting no light through. It appears as a wall of vegetation, blocking the horizon, perhaps hiding something. There is no emptiness in this scene, wherever you look you can see several brushstrokes, and yet there is a great silence in this painting.

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