PARIS.- The Centre Pompidou
has dedicated an exhibition to Dove Allouches most recent drawings. Riddles for the eye; dizzying penumbras impossible to reproduce through printing, the works of Dove Allouche make play with techniques and images taken from photography. They replace ink and graphite pencil with metallic powders, lampblack, ethanol or even silver powder, which gives an inexorable darkness and sense of mystery to some of his works.
Two years ago, I bought a box containing nine stereoscopic photographs on glass plates. I did not know that the subjects of these images were scenes from the First World War. Among these views of the battlefield, attacks and mass graves, one really caught my eye: a double streak of lightning ripping through the dark night. This was the starting point for a new series of large format drawings. Le Diamant dune étoile a rayé le fond du ciel, the first drawing in this latest graphite pencil collection, shows a storm over a pine forest. The two stereoscopic views are placed side by side on a sheet of paper, showing the same view with a slight shift.
Photographer, engraver and draughtsman, Dove Allouche produces enigmatic images, a mise en abyme of photography through drawing. With ambrotypes, stereoscopic plates, physotautypes and heliogravures, the artist revives forgotten, failed or abandoned photographic experiments, creating an image-object a skilful mixture of time and material. The subject replaces the material employed. Déversoirs dorage, photographs taken in the Paris sewer system, make use of heliogravure, an intaglio printing process. The use of silver powder diluted with alcohol for the two Frayures images of flares preceding night-time attacks involves the slow disappearance of the drawing over time through oxidation. With Man, child and two women, the largest drawing in the exhibition, the most figurative and also the most explicit representation of death, the properties of the zinc will cause the work to whiten until it fades away completely.
By combining subject and material in this way, Dove Allouche imbues his work with a powerful feeling of poetry. The image offers an interpretation on several levels, almost invariably leading to the idea of loss.