As part of the Classique ! group show - From July 16th to September 17th, 2022 - we are glad to introduce Questionner La Peinture by Hyacinthe Ouattara. 

HYACINTHE OUATTARA, QUESTIONNER LA PEINTURE,  2022. Oil on canvas. 80x50x40 cm

More than reinterpreting a specific piece, the artwork Questionner la Peinture by Hyacinthe Ouattara aims to appropriate the fundamental principles of a whole artistic movement: Supports/Surfaces. This ephemeral trend, which also involved artists such as Vincent Bioulès, Claude Viallat, André Valensi, and Daniel Dezeuze, appeared in the 70s and was one of the last artistic avant-garde movements of the XXth century. By deconstructing the painting within its traditional concept, the artists challenge the means and underline the unity between the medium and the artistic practice in itself. The canvas is then perceived as an autonomous surface and the works seek to put forward the elementary components of the painting that become the subject of work itself. The matter becomes the turning point linking the creative gesture, the pictorial materials and the final artwork - all being considered equally important. 

 These thoughts are at the origin of the movement that drew the attention of Ouattara, echoing his own posture regarding visual creation. As he always questioned the vocabulary of the art field including words such as “painting”, “art”, “creation” and even “drawing”, Ouattara hence chose to create an artwork that materialises his thoughts regarding the complexity of artistic creation. “I also personally like playing with the words, shapes, the amorphous and the fragility of one frozen thought. For me, a shape only exists once it is defined. I prefer the organicity or organic realism that allows us to be like life or the lives carrying everything around us.” Influenced by Joseph Beuys' ideas, Ouattara asks: What is art, ultimately ? What is painting? The answers are diverse and subjective, as art falls more under an attitude than a precise definition - as Harald Szeeman emphasises. The challenge, is then to create a painting that is not a painting; to create an artwork emerging from the artist’s unconscious by translating it into a posture where the matter integrates the painter, instead of the opposite. This leads to the creation of a striking work which positions itself halfway between sculpture and painting. 

Arising as a diptych linked by a green weave, Questionner la Peinture (Questioning Painting) appears like a leap into the matter itself. The artwork is made from rolled canvases tied together by threads, the whole taking the shape of a sculpture that emerges as a hybrid work. The red threads signify the interiority of beings, underlining here the will to deconstruct the surface of a work of art while referencing its living and organic side. Placed directly on the floor at the centre of the exhibition space, Questionner la Peinture invites the viewers to walk around the work and question the nature of the sculpture-painting that seems to oscillate between the visible and the invisible. Calling to the spectators’ curiosity and imagination, the work provides these rolled canvases with an autonomous life. Their image appears fragment by fragment, reinforcing the rejection of an explicit representation. The act of exhibiting becomes part of the artwork itself and immerses the viewers in the experience. 

In the continuity of the original principles carried out by Supports/Surfaces, Ouattara’s work renews this movement by challenging the definition of artistic creation. “Maybe we are wrong when we use the word "painting" to talk about a picture. Life is a big deep picture. I always say that in my intent as an artist, to create a painting, I prefer to go through the non-painting.” Questionner la Peinture sums up the complexities related to the common ambition of artists: creation. Without proposing a unique answer but rather by opening the door to multiple thoughts, Ouattara’s work becomes a materialised interrogation of the theoretical foundations of contemporary visual creation. The only certitude stands in the constant evolution of visual creation, in time and space, toward an unknown destination where art is alive, the matter is organic and creation itself remains an aspiring phenomenon. 


For any additional inquiries and press related demands, please contact Michaëla Hadji-Minaglou at