The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory. Henri BERGSON (1859-1941)
About the exhibition
Every Instant. To celebrate twenty years of collaboration with Galerie Alice Mogabgab, still and always imbued with the nature that surrounds it, Charles Belle returns with a new series of paintings: landscapes representing fields of grass.
Where his brilliantly coloured flowers asserted their glorious beauty and imposed their voluptuous authority, the recent landscapes explore, through the ondulations of nature, the undeniable fluidity of time. The subject is disconcertedly humble; untamed grass invades the blank space of the canvas, grows, sways, bends, tempts and stirs the viewer.
The artist’s hand lingers above flaxen prairies. It lightly touches them, caresses them and glides into the meanderings of the wind, opening up the paths of silence so as to loose itself in nature’s murmuring. The painter’s breath combines with that of his model; one breathes while the other draws to the rhythm of bucolic waves. The colours employed are the colours of light, wind, silence and scent. With these tones of the uncatchable, Charles Belle seeks to render the impression of a nature in the making and not the image of some reality, of continual life and not a faded representation, the sublimation of painting in the face of life, every instant.
Charles Belle was born in France in 1956. After studying at the École Nationale des Beaux-arts in Besançon, he taught drawing at the École des Beaux-arts in Mulhouse. From very early on his work was exhibited in numerous galleries in France, Great Britain, USA, Switzerland, Corea, Greece and Lebanon. In 1998, Belle’s paintings were showed for the first time at Galerie Alice Mogabgab. Charles Belle and Alice Mogabgab have since then collaborated regularly, exhibiting the paintings in Beirut, London and Paris as well as at international art fairs in Europe and the US, among others FIAC, Art Brussels, Art Paris and Art Miami. In France, Belle’s work is held by several public collections: Fond National d’Art Contemporain; Fond d’Art Contemporain de la ville de Paris; Mairie de Rochefort; several FRAC collections and universities as well as in fine art museums in Chartres and Grenoble. In Beirut, the Group Bankmed holds the world’s largest private collection of the painter’s work.
Monograph. In December 2017, Editions Sources published a major monograph (in French and English) dedicated to the artist, providing an insight into an artistic journey spanning more than 40 years. The book’s rich iconography is not organised thematically or chronologically. Instead, Belle’s works interact, collide and jostle with each other, thus giving an unfettered view of his powerful paintings.
The philosopher and writer Yves Michaud provides a scholarly, pertinent and thoughtful examination of Belle’s career history. The front and back covers are both painted by the artist. French papermakers Zuber Rieder (Boussières, France) made the special paper for this 524 pages publication. The book, printed in a limited edition of 2000 copies, numbered and signed by the artist, is available from Galerie Alice Mogabgab.
François Royet. For more than twelve years François Royet has been filming Charles Belle at work in his studio. This exclusive relationship between the two men has resulted in six films, bearing exceptional witness to the artist’s creative process.
François Royet writes: “My time spent with Charles in the intimate environment of his studio, seeing him in action, looking, losing his way, experimenting and then suddenly, with a new impetus, finding a way forward, made me aware that this dedicated space for painting is, every instant, the theatre of moments of a rare intensity, of a feverish and fragile vibration. What takes place here, in this tiny village, in the midst of a tranquil rustic life, where the day-to-day is divided between trivia and the banal, belongs to the most fascinating manifestations of the creative act, of that which is most beautiful, most profound and most universal.”
Tuesday 8 May, 7PM, at Galerie Alice Mogabgab, François Royet will present his films on Charles Belle and his œuvre:
Ce chou si beau (2007, 26’)
Le figuier, tout (2008, 26’)
Le peintre et son modèle… le taureau (2009, 16’)
Juste un dessin (2010, 13’)
Confiés à la forêt (2017, 20’)
Chaque instant… (2018, 10’)
Free admission, reservation by email: firstname.lastname@example.org