"Beyond the visible"

   By Camille Bardin

It is a ritual to which Lenny Rébéré obliges himself daily when he comes back from his studio: he searches, selects and archives the images that come to him according to his requests, among the some two hundred million pictures published every day on the Internet. These decontextualized images, desired by the artist for the forms that compose them, punctuate his works, intermingling with each other to form misty landscapes. As when walking along a path on which a heavy smoke has vanished, it is therefore groping that we discover the work of Lenny Rébéré. Even his chromatic evolution which would seem a priori to warm his paintings (the artist going from black and white to red) keeps them immersed in an ever more enigmatic atmosphere, specific to nocturnal wanderings. It is the color that the streetlights of our cities spread every night on our roads, it is the warm light that veils the Baudelairean walks. A red that also acts in contrast between a photograph that we would come to reveal, embalmed by the bloody lighting of dark rooms, and an image undoubtedly never written on paper, today lost in the abyss of digital.

Then there is this title, “Infras”, which I cannot omit and which comes like a breath in the reading of recent pieces by Lenny Rébéré. It is indeed the prefix that Marx and Engels came to place at the initial of the structure, thus creating the unifying concept of the production systems of our societies, antonym of the superstructure. Because these images are the basis of a community without territory, of a thought without a body that grows through the Internet and is, according to Lenny Rébéré, the 

support of a sociology of our relationships.

 

But above all, infra is the radiation that goes beyond the visible spectrum of light, the radiation that goes to nestle beyond the limits. And that's where Lenny Rébéré takes us. The reflection of glass has already captured our features, now engulfed in an alternative space, at the crossroads of worlds: hidden between the virtual and the real, the intimate and the collective. These works thus crystallize the relationships we have with images. Because if one does not cease to underline their impressive quantity, if one always tries tirelessly to analyze this general and permanent zapping, nothing helps: the images escape us; they assail us on a daily basis, seize our attention, then also suddenly vanish into the limbo of our networks.

Further on, there are these lost passers-by on whom our gaze stumbles. In fact, they could be you, or me. Because they are the walkers of Google Street View, today wandering and anonymous souls hidden in our screens. Lenny Rébéré takes hold of these strangers, gives them, if not a body, a pictorial consistency. But hidden behind this hollowed out jail, their image is revealed in bits and pieces depending on the areas covered or not by the metal panels. The artist engraved on it the forgotten face of historical figures. More than a confrontation between eras, these temporal strata materialize the ghostly life of images and create a survival of past forms, constructing the DNA of our culture. These anachronisms make Lenny Rébéré an anthropological artist of images driven by the desire to know who the real ghosts of our time are: these legendary characters or our bodies, broken by pixels.

 

 Camille Bardin, January 2019