THE THIRD ACT (Part I) - NEOCHROME at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

Installation view, The Third Act (Part I), Neochrome at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana

The Third Act is a traveling exhibition subdivided into two parts that features and puts into dialogue new works by Jean-Baptiste Bernadet, Benoit Platéus, and John Roebas. Opening in the sumptuous spaces of the Master Apartment of Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, the show then moves to the present location of NEOCHROME. The Third Actcombines these artists on the basis of their shared focus on the theme of time, seen in its diachronic progress, which has always been interpreted through the language of art and modern literature.
The premise of the two “acts” offers an opportunity to experience the practice of the artists in two very different contexts (though both date back to the 18th century). On the one hand, the Baroque architecture of the renowned palace by Gian Giacomo Plantery, and on the other the essential aesthetic of NEOCHROME, in a space that was originally a convent. This itinerary brings out the inevitable progression of the form, culture and sites that have hosted art during the course of history.

From the outset, the work of Jean-Baptiste Bernadet has found its stylistic signature in the intense, vivid colors with which he reinterprets abstract painting. Engaging with the expressive redundancy of certain 20th-century art movements, from Symbolism to Color Field, Bernadet’s paintings capture the flow of time, marking its passage by means of multiple lines and tones, though without succumbing to compositional temptation. The artist, in fact, prefers the spontaneous and extremely dynamic overlaying of signs, trails, levels of color. Among the most striking works of the “first act”, Untitled (Fugue - Screen III)(2015) aptly expresses Bernadet’s lyrical virtuosity, stimulating the viewer’s gaze thanks to an original narrative synthesis between agent and set. Shown in the Master Apartment of Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, the five-panels folding screen becomes a sort of “context in the context” where the use of stagecraft pays homage to the performative nature of art and its mise-en-scène. Furthermore, the making of a repeated gesture in painting imitates the sequential structure of the panels, allowing us to imagine the incrementing of a true synecdoche. The work’s title naturally gives rise to a dual interpretation, because while at first the reference to the most important form of instrumental counterpoint comes to mind, closer examination leads to reflection on the strident loss of self-awareness; a hallucinatory interval, consummated in the dramatic tension Bernadet nurtures, masking the “notes” of his inner “score” in infinite shadings on the canvas.
In any case, there is not only the time of drama and improvisation, intercepted in the flow of the present. While the Fugueseries seems to belong to the Heraclitean dimension of Pánta rêi, in Bernadet we can recognize an equally obsessive recherche of the past and the future. Just consider Untitled (Screen IV) (2015), also shown at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, the protagonist of an imaginary dialogue with the frescoes of Domenico Guidobono; or the immense sunset of Untitled (Trails II) (2015), which opens the “second act” at NEOCHROME. The latter work, springing from Bernadet’s mind like a “layered compilation of sunsets”, belongs to the time of tomorrow, to that almost synchronic acceleration that generates the color even prior to the line, and anticipates the horizon of a new hic et nunc, suspended between Proust’s madeleine and the pictorial projection into the beyond.

Vintage posters represent the matrix of the Behind The Scenes (2015) series by Benoit Platéus. The material, generally lifted from posters for b-movies of gaudy design, is glued onto the canvas face down, preventing the content from being displayed. The surface takes on a series of basic geometric compositions, free of figurative details, that form the basis of the painter’s gesture as he depicts the image, decontextualized and reinterpreted. The union of the components encounters Platéus’s intervention with oils, revealing the moment of finitude that comes from the cutting and the traditional painting on canvas.
The series of paintings is accompanied by the monumental video Wow (2015). Fragments of urban life shot in various spaces, the scenes reveal the gap between the image and what is narrated, and the way in which their mutual interaction is able to determine emotional engagement in its becoming, especially where the image in movement is concerned.

John Roebas explores the conceptual hypothesis of time through the material synthesis of the chemical substances that inhabit his practice, like epoxy resin, urethane or enamel. These elements bear witness to the ageing of the work, accentuated in a sculptural way in the series of clocks. Developing the composition starting with photographic images, Roebas inserts himself in the relationship between process and sediment of the entire production, investigating the faith in a cultural immediacy versus an alternative, non-human dimension. The work becomes the image of itself and the perception of advancing time is indicated in the choice of each individual component, while a wider, indefinite concept looms, almost photographically crystallized beneath the surface.

Text by Marc LeBlanc.
Exhibiting artists: Jean-Baptiste Bernadet, Benoit Platéus and John Roebas.

The Third Act (Part I)
NEOCHROME (at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana), October 29 - November 15
www.neochromegallery.com