AN (ALMOST) ENDLESS INTERVIEW
Once, I invented a little story about François Roux.
There is a naughty boy who waits on the wayside of nowhere, whistling. He is waiting for something to happen, to catch his attention. He is seated there, always waiting, patient but reactive. Sometimes he waits a lot. Then, suddenly, he sees a giant passing by. He has seen this giant many times in his dreams. He throws a stone towards the giant’s giant head and keeps still to see his reaction. He does not laugh at the giant: his provocation is respectful. But the giant does not react in any way: he is too giant for the little stone of the little boy, he just does not suffer the blow. So he keeps on walking and the boy seats again, in curious admiration. He waits for the next giant to pass by.
I met François on the 29th of January in Grenoble, in a not-so-French coffee shop. Since that day, we started discussing about art and life, almost endlessly, basically each day.
François Roux is attracted by untouchable and insurmountable life phenomena and by every contradictions they hide inside. Besides contemplation, he dares to oppose insignificant, barely perceptible, actions. In a cynical but respectful confrontation with unpredictable conditions, he creates images from discrepancy and ephemeral, in order to make a corrupted and transitory beauty emerge. He finds out and reveals, discretely, the paradox lying in each image: François forces us to stay and look, even just for a second, into the eye of the giant. He shows immensity at its zero grade, in its irreducible poetics. He disturbs the ocean’s boundlessness to draw the line at ours. A pragmatic revelation:
Breathing on a window and notice that it goes away while clouds seem to stay still.
Trying to fight against the Pacific Ocean by throwing waves back at it.
Spitting on a car window in a carwash to check if everything can be cleaned.
Knocking on an aquarium window to make the fishes come.*
Born in 1988, he has always looked for images. Along his young career, he has clarified which kind of images: most of the time, those that come from a dream-like vision. Sometimes they require years to be put into focus, sometimes scarcely a minute: anyway, it always happens at the intersection of the right moment, the right conditions, the right tools. The result is what François calls “une image qui sonne juste”. In a wide comprehension of Cartier Bresson’s instant deçisif, François Roux always shows a clashing, frustrating and frustrated poetry. His images are made of small meaningless actions in neutral disorientating non-lieux. Even though he would rather call them lieux génériques, generic spaces, places without any peculiar feature they can be defined by. We could eventually be in a green area in France, Canada, China: it does not matter at all. There is always a pretext to play, even in a white cube. The open abstract spaces constitute the backgrounds of his works and of his adolescence and maturity as well. The suburbs in Besançon, the beats provided by rap music, the regular roads of Vancouver, the surroundings of Grenoble, the passion for the skateboard: everything counts in his seek for testing the space and being strained by. To fall once again, and again. These are the places of the possibility, of an abstract universality that he is able to recreate in his videos. There is nothing more to say about, they are just accidents François Roux always yearns for. There is nothing to show, to represent, to narrate. There is no space for pondering over. Far from this will, being limited in time and space, François’ videos are therefore limitless. Their astonishing simplicity is their momentum.
The energy of a gesture, the cut of a movement.