Michel Castaignet’s painting is made of graphical and temporal disruptions. The different elements of the painting seem abandoned by an artist in hurry or forced to a certain form of efficiency in painting. The canvas bears marks of every event, sometime anodyne, occurring during the creative process in order to analyses the “sudden breaks” in the act of painting, these moments where the artwork ends. Some white areas appear here and there, witnessing the time lapse between two work sessions where the slide projector has moved slightly. The multiple projections and the cut up principle enlighten the secret of the workshop, the margins of creation. The artist talks about “a painting which stops before the edge, the end of the canvas, and then starts again, nearly itself again or at least in a relationship with itself.”
A very complex character, Michel Castaignet applies the principle of OuLiPo (acronym for the French Literary movement; the workshop of potential literature) to his paintings and multiplies the constraints. His very strict device resting on a system comparable to the definition/methods of Claude Ruthault, nevertheless creates a painting that is very open to interpretation. The artist sees in these compositions a mean to reconcile his taste for formalism and rigor with his taste for a baroque and colourful universe.
Michel Castaignet echoes a society marked by plagiarism and theoretical simplifications, in a permanent search for democratization of art and culture. A society where the artistic concepts are transformed into mere variations, where the multiplication of sources, the anonymity of the reproduced image creates every day a little more of an “opacity which prevents the public from producing knowledge” according to the essayist Edouard Glissant.