Allirand, estampe contemporaine, graveur, contemporary printmaker, gravure contemporaine, painter

Album photos - Images

Gravures - peintures, exposition Allirand à la Galerie Garnier Delaporte à Chavignol
Gravures - peintures, exposition Allirand à la Galerie Garnier Delaporte à Chavignol :

Gravures - peintures, exposition Allirand à la Galerie Garnier Delaporte à Chavignol 

exposition de gravures, encres de Chine et gouachess
exposition de gravures, encres de Chine et gouachess

"écriture" eau-forte sur cuivre
"écriture" eau-forte sur cuivre :


Renaud Allirand. Adverse Geography.



For those who are familiar with Renaud Allirand’s work – and it’s possible to encounter a few connoisseurs as far away as the coast of China – the essential, unifying theme is clear: geography. In the shadowy and shifting light of the prints and photographs, in the harmonizing tones of the pastels and in the intensity of the acrylics, the artist seems to have seized upon a physical coherence, bringing together glacial expanses and Mediterranean skies.


Using the paintbrush, the drypoint needle or ink, Renaud Allirand has undertaken the graphic transcription of a world. Geography. Indeed, his work reveals clues of this global vision: forms, lines and marks function as coordinates. Hence « Chemins d’encre » (Pathways of Ink), the title of his retrospective exhibit at the Fine Arts Museum of Orléans over the fall of 2013. The artist inhabits his defined pictorial space, regardless of the imprecise nature of boundaries and contours. He then dares to venture out into uncertain territory, « to the north of things », which may or may not be a « land of forgetting ». These two spaces, somewhat like beacons or lighthouses, were carved out in the company of poets Jacques Lesot and Santiago Agudo, the authors of two eponymous publications.


If Renaud Allirand’s work surveys a world, it does so step by step, feeling its way through shadowy landscapes that are suddenly struck by a radiant light, a burst of snow or a rocky blaze. Multiple viewpoints appear, leading the eye down diagonal pathways towards remote vanishing points, such as in the series of « Haubans », or suggesting a distant horizon pushed even further away by the barrier of verticals and horizontals, as in the etching « Nuit d’Hiver » (Winter Night), one of the artist’s masterpieces acquired by the Fine Arts Museum of Stuttgart in 2007.


The escape. The obstacle. The faraway. The artist’s painted or engraved expanses constitute a rare occurrence of spatial dynamics. The world is in the process of becoming, or of being recomposed. It marches on, swells up and disintegrates, engendering an arbitrary yet perpetual, physical force. Unless it’s nothing but a mirage: « Miroir d’ombres » (Mirror of shadows) is the title of a publication co-created with the psychoanalyst Jacques Robinet.


Indeed, there are perhaps mirrors and mirages in Renaud Allirand’s work. Mirror, mirari: to be astonished by what is seen ; to be astonished at seeing oneself. We’re thus inclined to take into consideration the artist’s process. He doesn’t allow himself the time for preparatory studies. He attacks his plates, canvases and sheets of paper directly, letting the work surge forth from himself. And we can’t help but think that the artist, rather than being our guide into this graphic world, sees his work as we see it: from the outside.


Indeed, that’s what Renaud Allirand’s work is about: an astonished gaze upon oneself, one’s art and all the rest of the world. Was it to better recognize himself, or at least to situate himself, that he developed a parallel artistic practice under the name of Dip? Don’t mention the word pseudonym. The artist detests masks. Dip is his alter ego. At one time, Dip photographed inflatable dolls on the beaches of Touquet and in the bathtubs of Parisian apartments. Today, he scribbles brilliant, salacious poems in which winged creatures, hermaphrodites and other unidentifiable figures make up a joyful circus. Viewers with good taste might see here a degenerated link to André Masson’s bestiary.


It would be a mistake to think that Renaud Allirand enjoys throwing the viewer off course. He’s too sincere for that. However, the scope of his artistic exploration, such as his latest endeavor – the creation of a tapestry, spun in Nepal, from wool coming from the Himalayan high plateaus – raises questions about the new directions his work is taking. So many paths have been explored both in printmaking and in Dip’s drawings, leading to seemingly opposed territories. Don’t they reveal a cruel absence of destination, suggesting an incapacity to inhabit the world? In other words, is it only through a state of astonishment that the world can be conceptualized and seen?


Impossible geography : that’s the confession that keeps the artist’s pride in check. His determined and uninterrupted work is like an outspoken refusal of the ephemeral nature of artistic creation, thus defining an aesthetics as well as a metaphysics of mark making.


By moving into the artist’s circumscribed territory, which is perhaps the only space that he can truly inhabit, we become aware that his wanderings are perhaps nothing more than the reflection of our own deviations.


Here in Ondreville-sur-Essonne, in the company of a 12th century church, Renaud Allirand’s world comes together. In the distance are the unchanging landscapes of the Gâtinais and the bell tower of Puiseaux, a rare example of a perfectly twisted spire, upon which the weather vane grasps the south, the north, the east and the west in a single movement. Useless geography.


The artist has transformed an old storage shed into an organized studio space. It’s not that everything is neatly arranged or put away: crumpled and stained paper hangs from a ceiling beam like a bouquet of dried flowers; a mannequin wearing sun glasses lies discretely in a corner. The space appears structured in that everything within it is charged with meaning and contributes towards fulfilling the same goal. Jars of ink are either open and left out, or set aside for future use and carefully aligned on a shelf; works that are still in progress hang next to finished and framed pieces. In Renaud Allirand’s studio, the different phases of the creative process meld together, so much so that there is little distinction between the means and the end, as can be seen in the metal etching plates hung upon the wall: they’re both matrices for producing images and works of art in of themselves.


The majestic and imposing etching press, set right in the middle of the studio, clearly calls attention to the essential part of Renaud Allirand’s artistic activity. This highly specialized tool, used exclusively by fine art printers or artist-printmakers, comes down to us from the history of book printing. To use the press is to be a part of this heritage, and it invariably has an impact upon how the artist works in other media, whether in drawing, painting or photography.


We can thus put forth the hypothesis that the true force of Renaud Allirand’s work doesn’t lie within a quest for geography but rather within his search for language. His many different approaches to working, the variety of marks and textures, create a language that’s sumptuous. Just as compositional choices might determine syntax, or a gestural brushstroke might suggest a style of speech, the subjects, colors and shapes continue to compose epithets and metaphors.


Since the creation of « Ecritures » (Writings), his inaugural series of etchings, and over the course of his artistic production, through painting, drawing and photography, Renaud Allirand has embarked on a search for a language, his language, which is a deeply felt approach to inhabiting the world.


Born in 1970, Renaud Allirand lives and works in Paris and in Ondreville-sur-Essonne, in the Loiret region. After an early initiation to photography with Irina Ionesco, he began painting, drawing and printmaking on his own. He has received many awards, namely the Prix du Maire (Mayor’s Prize) of the St-Maur Print Biennial in 2007 and the Annual Grant for etching given by the Académie des Beaux-Arts. Renaud Allirand has international recognition and he is represented in about ten different galleries around the world. His work can be found in collections in France, the United States, Germany, Korea, China… Several hundred of i sprints have been given to the Print and Photography Department of the French National Public Library. He has also published several books in collaboration with poets, writers and art critics such as Paul Louis Rossi (Des mirages et des ombres), Frédéric Tison (Une autre ville), Alice Braunschweig (Paradix) and Lise Fauchereau (Erratum). His work is shown in many salons and exhibitions, such as the panoramic exhibit proposed by the Graphic Art Department of the Fine Art Museum of Orléans from September 5th until December 8th, 2013.


Florent Papin, 2013


Translation by Diana Quinby

exposition au Canada
exposition au Canada