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Georges Nadra en résidence de La Valetta, Montreux, Suisse


par Harry Kampianne, critique d'art

Everything starts from man.From the very essence of the portrait in which Georges Nadra extracts the material from his works, the support of which is generally linen sometimes used "empty" but seen as a "full" in his compositions. Above all, there is the painter modeling his own memory on an inner light that he makes his own. It crosses borders, provokes a real attention to what painting should be: another look. To hear the artist is also to listen to his work.

In 1983-84 he painted the light of the man in difficulty in a psychiatric hospital in a city at war. What emerged was a series of paintings that he calledVisitors to the hospital of the Cross.


Later, during his residences between England, Italy, Canada and Switzerland, he added an “infinite architecture of the portrait”, a sort of timeless journey in which an inner flame breathes, undoubtedly that of a face, an emotion, an embrace bordered by the psychic screen of his "story boards" sketched in the folds of his memory.


Since 1986, Paris has become his main place of life and creation where the contrast of influences and memories mix. A filter, in a way, allowinga mixed archeology of what we more commonly call the human condition. A complex, fragile, twisted, anguished web, giving substance to this unstable soul that transpires in each of us. Without going as far as ritual, Georges Nadra's painting seems to dedicate a pact that is both inviolable and open to the intrinsic hazards of portraiture. Even better ! It is dedicated to humans in relation to space. It is much more clairvoyant. It passes through the wall that clothes us. It’s a bit of a battle without being one. He is on duty without being a sentinel. He is on the lookout without being a hunter. Of course ! He could have tried other genres. Why not the war he experienced in the heart of a bloody Beirut? “I am not one of those artists who interpret war,” he says, “I consider that it is a universal phenomenon that we can experience on site and from a distance. » Why not a landscape? “Yes, the landscape of the soul after entering the portrait. I have always considered that eyes are the pure abstraction of the human. Really, the question is "what's behind the wall?"My work is totally linked to transparency. »

Indeed, Nadra's paintings are long highways crisscrossing the most remote regions of memory; a collective memory in which the archives of a gigantic road movie are piled up.They can be seen as captures of human life, icons floating on altarpieces with minimalist accents, snippets of gestures escaping any discipline. They can be frozen in matter: an agglomerate of pigments, mesh, metals, wood, charcoal and paper. They can arise during production and remind us of the importance of the framework in which they operate. These are so many particles of life floating in an amniotic fluid, while its brick wall made transparent ends up making infinity, let's say, more accessible to us.

He happened to be interested inreflection through plexiglass, to put in opposition, like the void and the full, the concave and the convex as in Ombres elusive II, an installation made up of twenty-eight pieces. “I wanted, he said, to bring painting back to the idea of photography without going through the process of photography. » Let us add for once his recurring desire for perspective, for harmony which according to him “is made of contradictions”, of back and forth between the completed/the unfinished, the horizontality/verticality, the appearance/the disappearance, in fact composed of extremes in balance...Let us note the tightrope walking act to which the artist performs.It stratifies the space, makes it dance on the unstable thread of memory, even gives it an air that is both dark and deleterious. We must believe that with him instability is human and touching, it would even seem to be a vector of strength before being a source of inspiration. He knows this all the more because “paint is a scar” that never heals.

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