Marie Rosen, « Untitled »

Marie Rosen’s paintings are not ordinary. From small to medium scale, with their corners slightly rounded and their smooth paint, delicate, hieratic in the stillness of their scenes, they present themselves as ageless objects that one could have discovered somewhere, forgotten, in an attic. Their freshness may surprise but it is clear that time has not reached them. They challenge time, knowing that in the end they will triumph. Like these ancient paintings conserved and exhibited in the best museums. Paintings with which, in fact, they entertain certain affinities, subtly distributed. It is an important asset. And it is not the only one, far from it, even to the point that they conceal a greatness in their confined universe, a little precious, a little secret. Speechless in any case, always away from useless chatter, redundancies. This ambiance tight on itself keeps the works away from ostentation. There reigns a kind of modesty in the great silence that inhabits them. Everything is calm, serene, as well as slightly strange. Everything is ordered, structured. No agitation resides. It is flawless immobility, perfect placidity. Nothing moves. Everything seems normal. And yet the places, the beings, the décor, the quiet atmosphere, everything, even the soothing tenderly-reserved colors, deliciously refined in a few rare hues, lead to an abnormal climate. Indefinable. Marie Rosen places the viewer in a Magrittian situation, without the unusual part being obvious. We are with Samuel Beckett and his theatre of the absurd. Everything is normal, while nothing is normal. We are waiting for Godot, fully aware that he will not come. But we still wait. The characters, isolated in their mutism, are frozen, impassive. They are looking straight ahead. Expressionless. The void. Alone or in pairs, close or distant, they willingly lend themselves to the game of posing. Not even needing a chair to sit on. Posing is enough. They accept their isolation. They accept this motionless time. They are cloistered in their improbability, yet so close to the natural.

In these paintings everything happens in this slight shift often indefinable, in this incongruity so slight that it is often undetectable. It is felt more than it is seen. It is, alongside the plastic vocabulary that abounds, another asset. Immense. This painting braves time because it does not reveal its secrets, its mysteries, the unspoken. It presents itself in front of us as an absolute enigma. Forever unresolved. Which does not prevent interpretations. But a doubt will remain. What happens behind the curtains? What does this box contain? What is its use? Where does this ladder lead, this staircase, this door? What is the meaning of this hole? What are these characters thinking, where do they come from, what and who are they looking at? Why all these gaps? Where are the clues that will offer the key to a screening that will pierce the rampart of impassable inertia? One would even begin to doubt the existence of this painting, it so offers itself as an unbearable resistance to our understanding. The painting, conducted as it is, admirable in its rendering, subtle in its tonalities, dexterous in its contours, wise and put in its evocations, restrained as it should, skillful but not demonstrative, makes its qualities appreciable without giving itself up completely. It is, and remains, an impassive riddle. Reason why we get attached. Because we know that it will occupy us and that it will, in turn, place us outside of time. “Untitled”, it will remain so, otherwise the game would be too simple!

Claude Lorent