Thierry Diers

Thierry Diers "The Hollow Men"

Exhibition "The Hollow Men"
29 November - 12 December 2015

.../Thierry Diers in 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 pictorail 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.../

Nicolas-Xavier Ferrand, 2015


.../While discovering Thierry Diers's paintings, I immediately thought of these Hollow Men by Eliot but in a contemporary version, "fancy-dressed" and "restrained", with a new look great suits and luxury couturiers houses. Countenance and costumes, bearing and clothes - this is what dresses their emptiness up.
A real emptiness ? It is not sure.
Diers subtly suggests that behind countenance there is not but anything, yet something held, withdrawn, repressed, something which is concealed. That is the reason why he has only kept the countenance by neutralizing the faces which remain white - not empty and unexpressive but white. Sometimes some pink or crosshatchings to suggest that below, it is boiling, cooking and burning.
Because after all, they are human beings, just like us, and we are not more privileged to be "full" than they to have the misfortune to be hollow. Yet, they must not show it, they have to stay unconcerned and pleasing, or smiling with a conventional and cosmetic rictus which does not mean anything at all. They must not betray anything, neither emotions nor dissembled thoughts, nor anticipations, even less decisions. They have to show the cold and polished face of power. They hardly dare smile - but i is not a real smile, only a way of letting things glide along. They are sorts of human models. They have become these characters. They do not even play a double game : they are just what they are when they are showing off.

While painting his own Hollow Men, Diers goes further than those who caricature them, pretending to blame ultraliberalism or any new change of capitlalism : he shows them hollow without denying their human nature.

Then, Thierry Diers has gone back to the painter's process of thought, in the workshop where he still is. Since then he has enriched and made his figurative abstraction more elaborate. In his artist's stubborness as an artist who dares tot operate such changes, he makes me think of a great painter of abstract expressionism, Philip Guston, who is carrying out today a complete revaluation. With Diers, the interlude of these postures of men of power is more than an interlude - it is a step within a pictorial and intellectual path, disclosing the same clear-mindedness as in the rest of the work. And that shows the strength of it.

Yves Michaud, 1st October 2014