In 2018, Noël Dolla initiated the Sniper series. This generic title refers to a series of works in which the artist blows his paint with a compressed air gun, thus producing seductive, and equally frightening, 'Flowers of Evil'. Pretty at first glance, terrifying when you know what it's all about: war, death, torn flesh... As with the previous series, the tool of trivial use - in this case a "weapon for unclogging ADWC45 toilets" - plays the role of intercessor between his body and the painting, always in order to put it at a distance, not to be face to face with the painting and the projection of any kind of affect. For since the Support/Surface years, Dolla has stubbornly cultivated the "spirit of abstraction", so that painting continues to live, to carry the subject, far from academism. Most of the series by the man who sees himself as a "baroque rationalist" refer to the political and social context: Dolla is a committed artist. When a new, terribly human subject arises, he has to appropriate it, swallow the anger or hatred it arouses, in order to sublimate it in the very exercise of painting. Hence the importance for him of the painter's tools, often misused, but always significant.
Since 2018, Dolla has continued his Sniper series. In his new studio at 109 in Nice, he has been able to develop and refine his practice of the "Flowers of Evil" on very large formats, canvases ten metres long. These former slaughterhouses are equipped with metal beams and hoists. At the end of these chains hangs a plastic stretcher, which, held on either side, can thus move along the ten metres of the canvas. Dolla arrives, warms up, warms up, before launching himself into this hand-to-hand combat with the paint, suspended above her, lying on the stretcher, facing her. The session then begins. A first crossing with a line of black paint. He holds the bottle of acrylic in his hand, the liquid flows under his pressure, more or less, according to the horizontal previously defined by a fishing line stretched on the canvas, edge to edge. With his voice, he controls the rectilinear movement, more or less quickly, a rhythm that gives the inflection of the line, its slow or fast, compressed or untied writing. He thus moves backwards, gliding over the paint without seeing what he has done or what he is going to do, blindly. This first line drawn sets up the work's graphical structure, and also fixes the space, anticipating its tipping over into the spectator's field. He then places his colours all along again, his body placed in this uncomfortable and physical position, moved by this travelling movement which has nothing mechanical about it. Then, when all this is installed, the beautiful calligraphy, he passes again and destroys, blows with his air gun the paint which bursts and spurts, sprays on the white canvas, evoking this terrible image of a body hit by the bullet.
During the whole execution, which is rather short, he knows that there will be no way back because of this balancing technique, which forbids repentance. This new practice corresponds perfectly to his conception of painting, which for him is an absolute. It is only when he leaves his stretcher that Dolla sees his painting. Until then he had only imagined it and lived it through the effort of his body stretched in the moment. To see it fully, as it will have to intervene from now on in the spectator's space, it will still have to be straightened up, and lifted to the required height. In this last series, there is thus a kind of inversion of the spatial logic of the painting, executed backwards, from right to left, then tipped from the horizontal plane to the vertical of the wall on which it will be hung. Reversed in its reading logic, the space of the painting is inscribed rather in the duration of the visitor's displacement, who follows its unfolding with his gaze, in tune with this aerial dance with a trajectory that is nonetheless so implacably macabre in what it evokes.
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