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Encres flottantes – Arnaud Vasseux

Arnaud Vasseux, Floating Ink

The “Encres flottantes” that Arnaud Vasseux has been practicing since 1992 derive their method from a Japanese technique, suminagashi,or floating ink (Encres flottantes). This technique of paper capture accepts chance; it was invented in the 12th century and later spread to Europe by perfecting itself by adding substances mixed with water and inks. Now called marbled paper or vat paper, it is mainly used in the field of binding as a guard page.

Arnaud Vasseux takes up this ancient Japanese technique whose gestures and elements are the least numerous and the simplest. A water-filled bin serves as a testing ground. The traditional ratio is reversed: instead of pouring the ink on the paper, the paper is placed on the surface of the ink. It is the sheet that captures, by simple contact, the ink film that floats on the surface of the water. The result escapes the deed of inscription specific to the drawing. Each sheet fixes the expansion of a drop of ink deposited on the surface of the water.

As in photography, the medium comes to record and capture, like a snapshot, the state of a moving phenomenon. The final form is the result of an experience in which matter is expressed in its interaction with duration, water, air and paper. The artist then becomes an operator more than a composer.

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