About the paint workshop


Philippe Aurat

The Nonette‘s CTR


How is a practice of painting organized with the residents of the center? What difficulties do I face and what answers do I try to bring? Which are the conditions that are going to allow the work and the accomplishment of a work?

Residents know how to say or express their agreement to participate in the workshop; it is a necessary condition. They also have to agree to spend a certain amount of time in order to achieve something. If they can only stay a short time, I propose to work in sequences, to come back several times on the same work.

Their consent to come to the workshop I do is based on the relationship they have previously established with me. The way that bonding takes with these subjects is particular, not always calm, and it is necessary to take into account what they bring to the relationship. Regular confrontation with their difficulties in life enlightens us and makes us prudent. One should not be unwary and believe that it is already a point of reference. There is, on the one hand, the need for this hook to support the subject and, on the other hand, there are the peculiarities that this link can take. Ad augusta per angusta. (“Towards the heights by narrow ways”)

Accept coming to the workshop is never established once and for all, and every time the opportunity presents itself, the subject can say no.

He says not when the proposal is a demand; hence, it is necessary to pay particular attention to how to present the thing. In the work with these subjects, from the beginning, one learns about the rigor. Moreover, we are thus led to give proof of the linguistic inventiveness to contour that obstacle when we want to propose something.

For the consent to attend the workshop, a fact to be considered for some is the presence of such other subject (s) that is why I must also take into account affinities and animadversions. These exists, more or less strong, not always durable. This is something to consider in the constitution of a small number of residents who are brought together in a small and enclosed space. Some indicate their own incompatibilities. Frédéric does not come to the studio if Ana Isabel is there. By a “sweet forcing” you can get to have an action on those things, is something to dose.

Once they reach the workshop, the goal is to stay there and get to work. Some paint, some just come to be there and that is already a lot when the relationship with the other is problematic.

To make a painting, it takes a minimum of time that can be cut in as many laps as necessary. These subjects are object of disconnection phenomena whose origin sometimes appears to be internal and sometimes external. This leads me to reiterate regularly the offer, with the idea of making possible the execution of a work taking into account the real to what they are confronted. Proposing the continuation of a work is to consider this difficulty. Since the time of presence of each one is random, the best thing that I can do to adapt to the accepted subjects is to renew my offer regularly.

When everyone manages to stay in one place in the workshop, one in front of his easel, another in his own way, another doing nothing but being there, in the presence of others, this is already a great effort and a notable advance in the social bond.

It is also necessary to deal with unexpected visitors, which can produce one of those disconnections so frequent for those most sensitive to their environment. This is why, even if an open door is left to the one who manifests that wants to be received in this workshop, an entrance filter is also reasonable.

How can we give new impetus and go against the phenomena of repetition that produce lassitude, disinterest? It is essential to be motivated to work well, to recharge oneself to find new ideas. My personal work as a painter helps me in this as well as the clinical contributions of the institutional meetings.

My practice of painting brings me lightness, familiarity with materials and tools, as well as ideas for proposing other ways of painting.

It is also a sharper look at the productions of the residents, which gives the measure of my interventions, especially to indicate a point of detention in the work when what is done seems coherent. In the act of painting, it is crucial to stop at the right moment, to reach the final point of the work that is being done before it is too late, before making a new painting that comes to cover the first. And this is a delicate moment. If an impulse motivates the gesture of painting, it must be sustained to the point where it will give its unity to the work; it is necessary to stop in time to preserve the original intention. It is possible to help a painting to be performed, in many sessions, even very brief, taking the interruption that the resident performs as an occasion that may allow him to continue in the next session. The use of the short session in psychoanalysis is very formative from this point of view. Another of the virtues of the interruption is to help the subject who cannot stop, and is a way to make him sign that I am interested in his work.

Taking into consideration the style of each one gives the quality of the help that I can give: how he appropriates the materials and therefore, which support is best suited to his personal touch?

When there is no other intention than to cover, the action of the companion is simply to consider this intention and let it develop in good conditions, by trusting the subject who takes the risk of depositing something on a support.

The collection and conservation of the works participates in this interest. To comment on the productions, to be the recipient, if the resident accepts it, from the perspective of the transference, is also part of my workshop work.

The last stage of the exhibition entails the social dimension of exchange, of recognition, so important issues to go against the ostracism in which are the young people we welcome.

Translated by Lorena Hojman Davis