At first glance, Mathieu Ducournau’s art is intriguing, challenging and surprising.
The hybrid nature of Mathieu Ducournau’s creations is highlighted by his use of cotton thread, a raw material that crosses several mediums. While over time his artistic vocabulary and technique have evolved, from the sewing machine to coils of thread tumbling onto canvas, his act of artistic creation remains essentially the same, following in the tradition of painting.
Calling on the physical materials of both tapestry and painting, Ducournau’s work refuses to be pigeonholed. He applies coloured threads to the canvas as a painter would apply paint from a palette. From the tangled colours, the choreographed chaos of this artistic material, shapes and patterns emerge to form figures. These apparitions transform the canvas into a soft, cloudy, diaphanous surface. The multiple layering gives these 3D paintings the look of sculpture, forming a kind of bas-relief or network of emerging possibilities.
From the classical painting tradition, Ducournau retains a deftness of touch. He transforms his material with the way he places the thread, layering and juxtaposing it to create an interplay of light and darkness. Like a magician casting a spell, breathing life and movement into the inert fibre. Ducournau’s stance and gesture is determined by the nature of thread itself. His skilled hand must be suspended above the canvas at the just right distance from his body to generate the image and bring forth the work.
Anne-Frédérique Fer, curator of the exhibition and editor in chief at FranceFineArt.com, February 2019.