Mes étoiles au ciel avaient un doux frou-frou. Rimbaud 18

What if lightness were also strength? That which is born from the meeting of humility and beauty. For raising the humble to the aesthetic could not be done without rigor. "There is," writes philosopher Alain, "determination [...] and inflexible order in poetry [...], as long as form is rigorously followed, in every detail; this religious repetition has an aesthetic of its own, as children well know 19." Filled with the desire to recognize magic in the world, even mute, this lightness is of a kind that harbors the energy on which grace thrives 20. An energy which, in Des fleurs sous les étoiles, is all manipulation and minutia.

Intelligible, the constellation of Jérôme Fortin also allows for contemplation and a mulling deliberation. His stars, which are also flowers, or jewels, give themselves readily to decryption. They are an invitation. A discreet call to poetic vision, to a consideration of the small things in life to their divine potential. But if a sun is born of cork, nails and matches, if a necklace is shaped of cigarette butts, a heart of the branches of a larch, and a flower of tins stuffed with recycled paper, there was first a thorough sifting. It remains visible. The transformation is not here a finality so much as it is an action. To the Absolute, that well-known foe of Lightness, it prefers the Possible. A choice that can be verified by the impression of the infinite given by a sphere laced with tiny objects pinned to the wall. And while the redrawn sky participates in this endless gesture, vastness really unfolds in thought. This sculpture is also balance, its intimate scale is that of exactness; it unfailingly knows how to suggest the undreamed of grace in an eraser, a stem of horsetail, or yet again of a garbage bag twist-tie.

Concentrated with its formal precision as with its desire for enchantment, that is to say with passion one of the best guarantors of lightness 21 , Des fleurs sous les étoiles is nonetheless fluid, with its curved lines and open forms. Neither closed nor complete, the work follows the logic of the collection. Contrary to collections, however, which are weighted by the paradigm of possession, that of Jérôme Fortin is lightened. His drawing is renewal; it gives wings to small things.

Jennifer Couëlle
Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue Antidote, Longueuil, Plein Sud centre d'exposition et d'animation, 1998


18 "Ma Bohème (Fantaisie)", Poésies, Paris, Gallimard, 1984.

19 "De la puissance propre de l'objet", in "Système des beaux-arts", Les Arts et les dieux, Paris, Gallimard, 1958.

20 On the subject of grace, Alain explains that "the challenge [...] is to not push grace to the point of the simplistic or the empty, which resembles speaking without saying anything for fear of offending. Grace always requires forcefulness, and if possible, depth." ibid.

21 "True lightheartedness may be gained through [...] passion, love, as mystics have taught us in their way, and philosophers, too. [...] Only passion can wrench us away from the weight of our egotism." Alice Chalanset, "Interprétation", Légèreté: corps et âme, un rêve d'apesanteur, op. cit.


resume of the artist


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