In the paintings of Tarik Chebli there are animals – butterflies, fish, birds, and a few monkeys. There are also plants – wild grasses, hard plants, and flowers.
All this swarming in the paint thickness, in the impasto, the chaos of spots, and the polychrome marbling. Animal and vegetation arise from those produced by various random operations: jets of more or less fluid substances, agglomerations of thick pastes, intrusions of scraped traces, rubbed. At first glance, the painting can appear as the result of a jouissifying exercise. An exercise of triturating colored substances to see involuntary forms, potentially flowers or birds. However, the formation of this living world does not consist only to convert matter’s accident into shape: some fish, some birds, some flower’s corollas have been consciously drawn and colored, plated on the surface in a sort of indifference to irregularities of the support which welcomes them.
This delicate and candid manner counteracts the confidence that this painting to seems to accord the effect of an impulsive handling of materials. And it is an analogous part played by elements of another type: impastos and fluid mixtures which have not become animal or plant, which have not acquired the status of namable forms and which remain masses heavy to saturated shade, fogged and pale areas, as if to break the painting in its excesses of lyricism.
In the paintings of Tarik Chebli there are therefore tensions, discordances. This painting which balances between a pleasure of materiality and an application to reproduce figures is equivocal. It seems to express an animal and vegetable vitality as a seizure on the spot; and also, a saturated space, a world too full, buzzing, stifling, as if this idea of nature was a phantasmatic construction, the product of distant images and memories.
© Pascale Borrel