Michel De Caso
A different way of
looking at things

Column by Alain Coudert, Art Critic

As in Alain Souchon's song "Les garçons ont les yeux qui brillent / Par un jeu de dupes / Voir sous les jupes des filles" (The boys have eyes that shine / Through trickery / Seeing beneath the girls' skirts), some of us may occasionally wonder "what is behind a painted picture? "

It is partly in response to this seemingly childish question that Rectoversion came to be; a concept invented and used by Michel De Caso. While others have been content to extend a painting's limits or question the way the eye can be deceived through the trickery of the depth of focus of the picture and what is beyond it, Michel De Caso goes one step further keeping a tight rein on the sensitivity of his approach.

Born in Toulouse, Michel De Caso studied Art in Paris and in the Paris region where he lived until 2000 when he returned to the light of the South of France near Carcasonne to pursue his creative career. His world is first and foremost a world of colour: "I began to paint at the age of 18 to enter into communion with painting," he says. At the beginning of the nineties, he wished to fulfill his need to move beyond the picture or painting itself. When he removed a painting from the wall and gradually moved it further away from the wall, Rectoversion became stuck in his mind. It literally means " the rotation of the recto ".

The reverse side is no longer the hidden part of a painting. It reveals itself so that it can be looked at differently : it is painted using the idea of the reverse side as a complementary part, but when seen under a different light, it's meaning is perfected. One should add that a "rectoversée" painting also features holes in several places. This confers a third dimension upon the work (the artist speaks of triface (three-sided) which brings together the first two. The two sides of a painted picture that are linked by a vacuum are open to the sagacious interpretation skills of the spectator.

In Rectoversion, only the wooden substrates have holes in. Given the fragility of canvas, the holes are only suggested. "This concept, comments Michel De Caso, is in line with my journey as a painter. It has been fostered by my experience and is particularly well adapted to my metaphysical style". His concerns are also in harmony with those of a certain number of artists who have gathered around Michel De Caso, largely thanks to the Web, in the movement entitled "Rectoversion an 10 de l'an 10000 " (rectoversion, year 10 of the year 10000). As a painter who dons the hat of a thinker, he has published several works on the subject.

Although Michel De Caso's work is today completed in the heart of Cathar country, it is not work that aims at solving mysteries, rather it aims at answering questions that Man asks himself. This metaphysical painting, as the artist defines it himself, plays a part in extending the scope of the spectator, obliging him to question himself and question the different viewpoints from which a picture can be observed. This in itself is quite a step forward. "Following on from Marcel Duchamp who wrote it is the onlooker who makes the painting, Rectoversion today declares It is the onlooker who makes the recto," summarizes Michel De Caso.

His invention does not replace what already exists but it does enhance it. The main subject is Man in his entirety and in his cosmic entirety: his existence, his questions, his different facets, highlighted by the forced mobility around the painting, and his weaknesses. "Although the subject is important, adds Michel De Caso, it is up to each individual to interpret the work as he wishes". This enables him to escape from the intellectualization of the concept that he has to create in order to express his own artistic sensitivity and as a result, to appeal to the spectator's sensitivity. A type of painting where a lot still remains to be said….

Alain COUDERT (July 2004)
Art Critic for the magazine "Arts Actualités Magazine"

For more information on Rectoversion (the concept) and rectoversion (the movement), Michel De Caso's manifest book is available, "Rectoversion, l'issue" (A.D.A.P.), as is his Web site www.rectoversion.com.

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