L’analyse sérielle des oeuvres picturales

By: Jacques Fontanille


Volume: 09
Issue: 01:Summer 2023
ISSN: 2459-2943
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2023.0005
Pages: 75-96
Lic.: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Space-time of the work of art



We cannot reduce a pictorial work to an image or painting. As a work, it invokes, from the outset, other paintings, sketches, variants, a creative practice, a know-how, materials and gestures, forms of legitimation, exhibition, publication and archiving devices, etc. Therefore, we can consider each painting part of one or several series. The work is then the series, not each of the paintings taken separately. We thus adopt a conception of the work as fundamentally being plural, hybrid, heterogeneous, and one of the effects of this is the series. If we consider a painting as an image, the presentation space is flat and delimited by edges: exploration and interpretation are constrained by this elementary topology. But, if one adopts the perspective of the work as a series, the evoked space-time is multiple, stratified, and multi-dimensional. Choosing the serial analysis of the works does not imply that they are already classified as ‘serial’ but that the method that will apply to them will reveal serial properties. In this article, seriality is approached only in a comparative way, as the comparison of the work of two painters who oppose formidable difficulties: an Iranian painter, Medhi Sahabi, and a French painter, Georges Laurent. In both cases, the serial structure and meaning have a concrete impact on understanding the work and the choices we must make when presenting them in public: How do we organize the exhibition? How do you configure the archiving? From a methodological viewpoint, this serial analysis involves identifying the syntagmatic forms of associations and metamorphoses within the series and then the properties of the space-time in which they unfold.


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