Issue 15, Winter 1956
Born in Brittany and honored last year as France's representative to the Biennale in Venice, Pierre Tal Coat is a patient painter, and patience implies caution and deliberacy. Nor does it exclude meticulousness. To be sure, his is not the patience of the mathematician progressing toward the solution, but rather, one might say, that of the birdwatcher cultivating the readiness which will enable him to catch the instant of soaring. Tal Coat lives by and in nature. Nature is his subject. But he shuns direct representation of it as a kind of cruelty: like setting traps.What we see in his paintings and drawings are signs of nature or, more precisely, signs toward it: timid yet sure, tentative yet alert, conciliatory gestures. And like a bird, nature answers the appeal, briefly, lightly—the time of a wing’s turn. Tal Coat offers us not aspects, but moments, passages of nature. Incomplete, yes: still, they are among the rare works to provide an intimation of what the harmony of man and elements may have been, in prehistoric ages, before the divorce occurred. The lines have a pristine simplicity, the light is of morning—perhaps a first morning. When we call them ‘abstract’, we merely show how much we have lost the sense of the immediate.