analogies : reading

The Magic Skin (1831), Honoré de Balzac, dedication after Laurence Sterne
The Magic Skin (1831), Honoré de Balzac, dedication after Laurence Sterne

For example :

Afeter an engraving on a shell (500,000 years before present) Trinil, Java, Indonesia
Afeter an engraving on a shell (500,000 years before present) Trinil, Java, Indonesia

a bait on a hook

"My whole lucid effort gives him a clue—every page and line and letter. The thing's as concrete there as a bird in a cage, a bait on a hook, a piece of cheese in a mouse-trap. It's stuck into every volume as your foot is stuck into your shoe. It governs every line, it chooses every word, it dots every i, it places every comma." I scratched my head. "Is it something in the style or something in the thought? An element of form or an element of feeling?" He indulgently shook my hand again, and I felt my questions to be crude and my distinctions pitiful.

The Figure in the Carpet (1896)
Henry James

let's be vulgar

Vogelstein still remembered the puzzled feeling- -it had cleared up somewhat now—with which, more than a year before, he had heard Mr. Bonnycastle exclaim one evening, after a dinner in his own house, when every guest but the German secretary (who often sat late with the pair) had departed "Hang it, there's only a month left; let us be vulgar and have some fun—let us invite the President."

Pandora (1884), Henry James

thus passes the glory of the world

A detail after Claude Viallat, stained glass window, ND des Sablons, Aigues-Mortes (Gard) - France
A detail after Claude Viallat, stained glass window, ND des Sablons, Aigues-Mortes (Gard) - France

"The subject-matter of painting is painting itself and the works displayed here refer only to themselves. They do not appeal to any notion of 'elsewhere' (an artists's personality, her biography, art history, for instance). They provide no escape, since surface, through the disruptions in shapes and colours which take place on it, prevents vievers' mental projections or dreamlike wanderings. Painting is a fact in itself and issues must be questioned on its very ground.

This is not about going back to one's roots, or looking for original purity, but simply laying bare pictorial elements which constitute the pictorial fact. Hence the neutrality of the works displayed, their absence of lyricism and expressive depth."


A collective statement on the occasion of 'La peinture en question', an exhibition at the Muése du Havre (France) in 1969.

Often seen as a manifesto for supports/surfaces, a short-lived but influential French avant-garde movement.


* * *


'Established in 1998, Support Surface is a workshop specialized in making custom gallery stretchers. All of our canvas stretchers are entirely hand-made in our workshop located on Bordeaux Street in Montreal, with the greatest precision and high-quality materials.

This is why Support Surface can offer a diverse choice of dimensions, thicknesses and sizes. Made with selected pine or bass wood, our stretchers are equally sturdy as they are light. Available individually or with a choice of mounted surfaces: with canvas (12oz-14oz or pre-primed 10-12 oz canvas) or 1/8"-1/4" russian plywood panels.

Handmade for artists by artists.'


a giant vocabulary


Le Félin géant / The Giant Cat (Quest for the Dawn Man), by J. -H. Rosny aîné

(First published in French in 1918)


I've forgotten when, as a child, I discovered Quest for the Dawn Man, a sequel to Quest for Fire (1909). There used to be a book version adapted for kids too.


The novel is riddled with vocabulary on animals, plants, techniques which refer to prehistoric times. Many of those terms were unknown to me. Because of this, they left in me the lasting impression of adult rapture, reinforced by the uncommon form of the author's name.


The impenetrable nature of this vocabulary was no obstacle for me, it was the very stuff wonder is made of.


la tourette

The Dominican priory at La Tourette, near Lyon, France, was inaugurated in 1960.


Le Corbusier, its architect, did not design stained glass windows. The splay inside the windows is sometines painted in plain colours. The light from the outside and the view over the landscape are thus tinted by the angle, while no coloured filter is interposed.


In the same way, in Gondorla, your perceptions and personal memories are ideally tinted when reading its painted panels. Reading gives body to related forms, around a space Gondorla does not control.



Stephen Doyle !

Gondorla's elements are not riddled with hyperlinks which would be visually tiresome : topstitched steams and scars.


From one text to the other, words and situations are repeated without being exactly superimposed and refer to connections outside Gondorla.


I initially intended a well-structured development on this point. In fact I was delighted by the artwork of graphic designer Stephen Doyle, a detail of which is shown here.


And there you have it.



Putting bulls to death as a show doesn't appeal to me. The continued celebration of corridas is for me a present-day enigma.

Animal death, just like any form of death, is even contradictory with Gondorla's principle, since the ever repeated agôn which takes place in its heart ends without any wounds or deaths.


I live in a region of rampant suburban development, black bulls, well-preserved Roman monuments and village arenas that come in all sizes. The latter are mainly devoted to course camarguaise, in which athletic raseteurs peacefully challenge the bravery of bulls.

Such races in black and white are offered to the audience like ancient, deeply beautiful, liturgies.


The rest of the time, you walk round the silent circular building. It stands both empty and present, just like Gondorla's heart, in which nothing is to be read.


Arenas are often built in a corner of much larger empty areas like boulevards or fairgrounds. Vans and lorries require room for manoeuvre, tall plane trees rustling in the wind provide their shade.


In Carmen's last act (1875), Georges Bizet stages the final argument between Carmen and Don José outside the arena, where the crowd's applause is heard :


'A square in Seville. The walls of the old arena are in the background. The entrance to the ring is closed by a long curtain. A bullfight is about to take place...)


(Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy)


Tragedy builds up outside the arena in the opera most associated with bullfighting, to the extent it provides it with its music during the show.



A natural arena, a clearing is a zone of contact between environments, the richest in life and diversity.


Ideally, apparitions take place in its centre.


If waiting is too much for you, why not listen to the 'Good Friday' passage from Richard Wagner's Parsifal ?