Laure Roynette’s gallery presents from February 5th to 31 march 2015, the solo show of François Fries, « What do you see of the Mount Fuji? »

There is this sentence, which was for me (François Fries) a revelation. It is by the Dutch painter Jongkind, a precursor of Impressionism from the end of the 19th century: «Under the window of the wagon I saw pass, at the speed of lightning, more than a thousand successive paintings, but I just have only seen, quickly erased by the next, and at the back, I reviewed them but with a different light and they were other. And I understood that it was like that we have to paint: remember the essential of the light, surprise in one second at different times. The fugitive impression on the retina is sufficient. Everything else is useless.”

«What I do teaches me what I’m looking for”. This sentence of Pierre Soulages, which François Fries quotes in an interview could summarize if it’s necessary - all the hours spent by the artist for nearly ten years in his successive workshops. Because in painting, we can find François Fries’s tireless search. Why are there - it something and not rather nothing? But any metaphysical and meditative it can be, the question is rooted for François Fries in its actual right-of-way, the confrontation the painter knows well with the canvas, physical matter. Because it is in the making («what I’m doing...») that his research was born, flourished, performed without ever ending or dissolving. François Fries search, only does he know what he is searching for?

A personal quest, then, a kind of mantra, which eventually dispense with the discursive. We known, François Fries likes fiction: the one who is produced by the cinema, his other territory, to which he refers often to talk about «ways of doing» but also to install the atmosphere of a series he began. The titles of his works, often surprise, by their fictional dimension with regard to what the painting shows. But tell or to tell a story, the story of a train crossing at full speed a landscape which, as a passenger, we do retain a fugitive image, or the wandering of a tourist in a Museum, eyes sliding from canvas to canvas, without really paying attention to any, maintaining in ones memory some fragments, fugitive of forms and colours memories, or even imagine how «everything flows».’ even the mountains ‘... All this is perhaps an artefact of a phenomenon making words temporarily obsolete. I do, I paint, and in painting, the words dissolve.

We can think about this word of Harold Rosenberg, about ‘action painting’, that might, somehow, apply to the work of François Fries, for who, without any doubt, the canvas will always remain this ‘arena in which act’ referred to by the American critic, this space in whom we always confront, and it result, painting, will never be a ‘finished product’ but a practice complex, necessary, and still ‘in progress ‘...

Marie Deparis-Yafil
December 2014