y dear young Vincent,
... Paint what you know without resorting to the tricks of the trade. Don't go searching for them - you have your fair share. Look at the great masters for your pleasure. It will also be to your advantage but don't go looking for it - it comes by itself. In our line of work, the intentional gimmick, the carefully matured plan - these are for losers. You have to be very mediocre to 'want' to be an artist. Nothing beautiful is made but by love.'
Marcel PAGNOL, 1957
(extract from the correspondance from Marcel Pagnol to Vincent Roux)
have no idea whether the future will speak of Brigitte Bardot in the way that we evoke Phryne today, and more indeed if the silver reflections of our midnight swims eradicate the troubling memory of asses milk! What I do know, what we all know, is that the great river of evolution has its oxbow lakes, its beaches of fine sand, its games, its parties, its lunacy. Are these vanities, would you think? Maybe. Whatever happens, these fugitive galas will not slip through the sieves of future gold seekers. The conquest of the elements of speed and the atom will not be able to wipe out Paul Poiret or Chanel. And the historian will have to refer to both Deauville and Saclay.
Therefore why refuse a painter, a poet, the right to sing of the sweetness of life, between two circles of Hell. In the apparently joyous atmosphere of his crowds, in the nonchalence of his models, in the comfort of his wonderments. Vincent Roux has the sense to leave a small door open for sadness. It is through this door, we can be sure, that Death will enter the artist's work to touch the pretty vibrant bouquets, the nymphs and the ephebes with his frosty finger.
Axel TOURSKY, 1967
n his discovery of the holy mountain of his youth, Vincent Roux displayed a 'rage of expression' similar to that of the poet Francis Ponge who, also trying to 'conquer this landscape this Provencal sky (1)', stated that '....I feel that I haven't seen it enough and I tell myself that I should go back, like a landscape painter returns to his motif several times over.....' Ut pictura poesis: the poet seems to speak for the artist, and not only on the poetic principle of the constant return to the motif but also on the ways and the means of his renewal.
For, with Vincent Roux, the Sainte Victoire is sometimes an apparition seen from afar, a bluish swelling outlined in black or Prussian blue on a pale horizon ' and everything beneath it - houses, olive bushes, trees, the variegated fields - everything is like a brazier of varied colours', reinforced with Indian ink and acrylics on watercolour paper or extinguishing themselves dully on the matt surface of cork. There is colour, sure, but also present are the tension of the upright cypresses, the scansion of the burgeoning vegetation and the diagonal line of the rythmic vines on the violet earth where the savage blood of the Cimbre tribe still rises.
Sometimes the mountain, close-up, takes up all the space on the canvas with the interplay of its rocky structure, with its form made up of broad touches of shadow and colour, of its hasty and cadenced brushwork, leading up most often from left to right in an ascending movement that seems to increase the height of the summit and to reduce the sky. The sky with its slashed hurried clouds unites with the mountain and the occasional pinks echo the reflected light of the slopes where blue tints darken to match the chthonian crevices. As the poet Ponge writes 'Son ombre à son éclat tient toute estompée' and 'Ce jour vaut nuit, ce jour bleu là'.
Indeed night is here. The lyricism of chromatic sunlit brightness gives way to tragic nocturnal tones. 'Which octopus retreating into the distance of the Provencal sky has released this sombre inking of the scene?' What does the nature of the monster matter? From now on, the only thing that matters is that nature is entirely submissive to the 'authority of the black mirror of the artist'.
(1) Francis Ponge : La Mounine or afterthought on a sky of Provence
- in The Rage of Expression. Poésie/Gallimard, 1971.
Jean ARROUYE, 1985
Highly skilled professor at the University of Provence