The Hollow Men- Thierry Diers

The Hollow Men- Thierry Diers

La Catho - Lille
28 April - 24 May 2017

Roaring picture


When Thierry Diers, who worked with big firms, offered them to take part in the plan for an exhibition and for a catalogue on his work as a painter, a lot of them gave their agreement in principle. When the artist explained his plan precisely – its contents, its pictures, the spirit which is dwelling in it – all of them politely drew back.
What was so dangerous that so solid structures consider there is a risk to help to the birth of this plan and its pictures’ book ? Was it because they saw in it their own portrait ?
Because of these activities, as an architect and a painter, Thierry Diers knows the decision-makers. For them, he designed areas and he carried out innovatory concepts to provide humanity and sensitivity to places made for profitability, and where the walls bear the signs of human relationships whose flavour is sometimes provocative. Thierry has been a lively witness of these exchanges which take place only at work, a social arena where mocking looks, terse comments, fake greetings and true stabs in the back struggle away at you. Thierry Diers wanted to illustrate these ‘handshakes which never occur’, the disgraces, the muttered talks, … .
Thanks to this professional and human bicephaly, the ‘Hollow Men’ series was born.The designer has been invited to attend in these buildings, to be entrusted with some mission. He said he was treated as ‘the artist’ (that is to say, in this world, as ‘the blockhead’), so that he was allowed to be admitted into the company’s private life, thus lowering their guard. He is apparently harmless : he does not hold the purse strings, does not aim at the deputy chief position and will not go and sneak to anyone what Mr or Mrs so-and-so told about another one once the door was closed. The wolves think a lamb has gone for a walk among the pack, and yet…
The architect had the painter in his pockets (unless it is the opposite), and it was more than as a passive witness that Thierry Diers observed these exchanges whose name only is human. Here Diers’s work finds its true meaning : the architect as well as the painter is completely devoted to the understanding and the expression of the building of relationships between human beings.

Thierry Diers is an abstract expressionist painter. His canvasses usually offer big bunches of colours, violently arranged on the drawing. They are sentimental, intimate and universal, they invite to introspection, emotion or to a particular physical link with the pictorial matter. They are rarely about human figures, never about politics. Yet here, the artist has felt a desperate need to depict straight away what he witnessed. The ‘Hollow Men’ series is a fault in Diers’s path, an urgent springing up which compelled a clear assertion. In the following text, Yves Michaud quickly compares Diers and the American painter Philipp Guston, an illustrious abstract expressionist. What needs to be mentioned is that Guston, before being one of the 1950’s biggest non-representational artists is then considered as Pollock’s equal, was a frenzied political painter who denounced racial and social violences, and that he turned himself back to the paths of figuration in 1970, painting racism and imperialism, declaring that abstract art, in hard times, was unsuited to speak about the world and even less than to change it. He was treated like dirt by the art critic and part of the art circle. If it is not easy to organize into a hierarchy the genres of paintings, Guston, as well as Diers, have each of them felt the urge to tell reality in the most explicit way, toning down a bit the usual and discreet purge of their means. In 2015, the pictures have kept all their strength. In January in Paris, about ten people have been killed because of pictures. At the time when I’m writing these lines, one speaks about the eviction of the ‘Guignols de l’info’. This book is self-edited whereas it should be otherwise. In 2015, the pictures have kept all their strength indeed.

Nicolas-Xavier Ferrand