Process and iconography by Sylvie Coëllier


Raffini questions the relationships between the studio, exhibiting for the spectator and  painting. (…)
He proceeds to  a ‘‘dissociation’’ of the pictorial gestures. He produces on the one hand paintings with iconography picturing his affected relationship with the world, and on the other he takes into account the non-thought of painting, its accumulated history by what falls from the gestures transmitted and learnt until they are instinctive: his processes. They are sometimes issued in videos, sometimes understandable by the means of exhibition.

The series Capharnaüm / Opusmemori give a good idea of the approach. A tall and thin canvas, highly absorbent, is lain on the floor, on plates that extend on the 12 m2 allotted to the working space. This sheet is the receiving surface of a first gesture; it is both «arena», to say like Harold Rosenberg, and a suggestion of images the way the stains and cracks on the old walls fed Leonardo da Vinci’s imagination. Because the very liquid juices perspire onto the plates, mingle with the steps and the traces of the cloths on which the brushes were wiped. The work session on this ‘‘dropping area’’, this horizontal wall, Raffini names it ‘‘giornata’’ (because it requires a day of drying before resumption). The painting is thus connected with fresco calls for his secular and monumental tradition. This first layer is then used for the composition of a painting carried out on the vertical of the wall. As for the panels, remaining on the floor for one year, they become an abstract painting (of battles) that time and accumulation draw from what falls onto them.
The successive layers slowly become a thin mud of colors assigned to the vertical painting, gleaming with rubbing and stamping on the metal support that wears down and disintegrates. It is this work that is called Opusmemori.

Jointly, on the wall, the paintings started on sheets continue: the Capharnaüms.
When the later are over, ‘‘drained by the experience’’, Raffini shows them on bent metallic poles that erect through space. The sheets are then presented as banners, sometimes tattered that tangle up and twist as they fall out, sometimes like more Unitarian flags.

Another practice by Raffini consists in paintings on a free-standing canvas that integrate the images coming from iconography of the media merged with another source of images, more timeless, that of art history. This oniric condensation also comes as a counter shot to the process inclined painting made on the ground. On either sides, through iconography and wear, dominate an idea of destruction, of the end of a time, a mourning. Being in this mourning, that may be read like that of painting, still generates painting.