Artist Pierre Soulages has painted with only black paint since 1979, when he started the series “Outrenoir”, “beyond black”, in his words, “another country from black”. In this remarkable little film, he slowly works black pigment ground with oil, with resin added, using brushes to create different effects of light reflecting off the paint. He even makes “the light vibrate”.

“I paint with black but I’m working with light. I’m really working with the light more than with the paint.”

The movement of Soulage’s brush through the paint is remarkably sensuous, transfixing, almost soothing. The paint itself has an alive quality. We feel almost as we were holding the brush.

It’s a wonderful insight into an artist’s process and especially, his description of the deeply personal nature of his work:

“It’s about what happens between the canvas and myself, and the mental field it induces through the rapport of the black with the light.

Archives Soulages/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris; via Fabre Museum

Each painting is a conversation. We admire 100-year-old Soulage’s dedication to private exploration, no permission asked.

It’s about what happens between the canvas and myself

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