Taking the floor to discuss Nicola’s activity, on the theme of group activity, group desire, group responsibility, is enough to make us suddenly feel inhibited, unable to utter a word, to make the slightest gesture, even the gesture of writing. Nicola paints the subject, the body, the bodies; not the skin, nor the muscles, nor the bones, nor the nerves, but the rest, an “it” which the art crowd identifies with, rejects this identification or acts on it, carrying itself along into another kind of language which breaks the ritual, the habits of gallery goers, those who “follow” the exhibitions. Group fantasy, fiction. The “painted bodies”, the paintings penetrated by bodies, don’t make us dream because we’re already awake, but they make us fantasize side by side, because we’re not alone, we’re a group, a milieu, from the artist to the gallery owner, to the critics to the other artists who have come, to the collectors, to the merely curious : how is this group, this “milieu” carrying the cultural germ, going to fantasize in front of these pictures while being fully aware of the actual place it’s in ? How will there be, instead of accommodation, a dislocation, a shift, a first step, a different procedure… What Nicola proposes to us in her paintings is to find ourselves, to discover ourselves in another surrounding space -color- sky., sea or fire (don’t all colors come more from painters than from nature ?) and to make the painting come alive, to experience it as we penetrate it, to paint, to leave this painting -which unwinds like a farce- on our eyes no longer, but to activate it, practice it, bringing back the return of that difference, the fiction of painting. It’s not a question then of “mechanical arms” but of the circulation of subtle desires, of mobile and interconnected desires ; painting is then the support of the group’s desire.
“Practice” by Catherine Parisot
1 May 1975