Between the Manifest and the Hidden is Antoine Puisais’s first London solo show.
“I have only fractured and vague memories of my often dark and fraught childhood. It took till my early twenties for the realization to dawn that something inside me was deeply broken and that’s when I started painting… I found painting healing… it filled in the cracks… and it became a new world I could explore emotionally and intellectually... It became addictive, a fix in every sense... I didn’t ask myself if I was or wasn’t an artist. I just knew that I was.”
Antoine Puisais lasted half a day at art school. Maybe it was arrogance or immaturity, but for Puisais the act of painting was a primal urge, not a to be mediated and contained by classrooms and career plans. It was an itch that needed to be scratched. So he went D.I.Y. his path littered with many errors and fewer, hard-won victories. Somewhere along the way he discovered that what he loved, what he had a kind of fatalistic obsession with, was that moment that always comes in acts of the creations, the moment of finely poised balance between success and ruin, the precise point beyond which the wrong move, the misplaced gesture, would be irredeemable.
Accordingly Puisais is fascinated not only by the visible, by what can be seen on the work’s surface, but also by the invisible, marks and passages that have been removed or those that were imagined but never made. So the works are both full and broad, incorporating painting and printing, collages of found objects, areas of deliberate damage, wild and precise in varying measures. Each one is a contested zone, between what is and what might be, held in tension between the forces of creation and destruction.
“For me, creation is a binary act… I add and I remove and what interests me it is what remains, what survives this soft war between the manifest and the hidden.”