On the gallery wall, large canvases, some small. First meeting. I look, she stays silent. Hélène Dureau-Martini is not very verbose about her work and apologizes for it. But she paints. And it is in her painting that are her words, her expression, her way of saying. I question him, a little. She wonders, too. Ask if it makes sense to paint today. Her canvases on the walls speak for her: yes. Fine Arts mosaic graduate. Then, the diploma barely passed, the painting. As a necessity it seems, as an obviousness which suddenly imposes itself. She paints on paper, kraft. She does not like white, which returns light too much. She doesn't like the softness of the canvas, so she fixes kraft paper to the wall, then, once the work is finished, she smooths the paper onto canvas. The hardness, the body to body, the confrontation of itself with the wall and its support, fragile. Sometimes the paint trickles, sometimes it becomes lumpy. Material and color live and vibrate on paper. here and there, large curved lines appear, soft and nervous at the same time, charcoal. The paper comes in reserve, digging as many smooth grooves, breaths, between the colors.
Confrontation is that. The solid and the delicate (the wall against the paper, the agglomerates of material against the evanescent lines, barely sketched in charcoal), the full and the empty, the density and the fluidity. She says I like to go to the limit, at the limit moment, just before it turns over. And this clever balance of matter, color, gesture, emerges in each of his works. As if you had to hold your breath, and that nothing could sway everything. It evokes the work of Mark Rothko. Kinship is evident as color plays a major role in his own paintings. Monochrome or almost, it throbs.
She says painting transmits emotions above all. Here they are intense and delicate. And these layers of matter, of colors superimposed, juxtaposed, this sedimentarity? She says my work is also about memory. Finally his economy of words goes hand in hand with his work.
She pursues the essential with rigor. No posture, nothing superfluous or diluted. The grace of rightness. Something original, first, like a vital impulse, which is the depth and the strength of his work. Painting as a necessity, of course.
A graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Hélène Dureau-Martini has been painting for several years. She lives and works in Paris.