Houses and poplars. 2016.
* 1963 in Nancy
Oil on cardboard. 15 x 25 cm.
With his wondrous sketches, united under the series title 'Sky Over Berlin', Nicolas Poignon positions himself directly in relation to Wim Wenders’ film of the same name [Der Himmel über Berlin (1987), released under the English title Wings of Desire] and, also, the work of Peter Handke, who had been involved in the development of the screenplay and contributed lines of his own writing to that piece, injecting his voice into the film’s action. Poignon is an urbanite and flaneur in the style of Handke, Franz Hessel and Walter Benjamin. Paris and Berlin – those two cities that were of such significance for both Hessel and Benjamin – play a key role in his work. For Poignon, every alleyway, every streetcorner, offers a glimpse at inspiration; it is here, under the anonymising sprawl of the urban metropolis - ‘the dark end of the fair’, as John Burnside would have it – that the artist’s encounter with his environment triggers a vision to be transformed into art. His compositions do not concern themselves with the city as a known – or knowable - entity. The cities’ component parts dissolve into conjoined rhythms of colour and structure through which images are shaped. An aura of abstraction transcends these observed parts: the buildings, houses, house features and groups of trees that populate the paintings. Poignon’s post-impressionistic style recalls the glittering presence of the epoch so important to Walter Benjamin also: the 19th century.
Referring to Benjamin, Jean-Michel Palmier wrote, “He searches the city for the chance to lose himself in it, to feel alone in it, and to dream.” These words also evoke Poignon’s work; we can imagine him similarly pacing the city in preparation of his cityscapes.
Dr. Jürgen Glocker