I’m not afraid to paint fully erect male bodies. I’m not afraid to paint
masturbations, sodomies or ejaculations. All these things appeal to me
so I paint them. Moreover, I glorify them by constructing large
life-size visual altars for them. I’m also not afraid to show religious
symbols in irreverent ways. There are so many things in this world that
haven’t been painted before. I don’t want to restrain myself from
representing any of them.
The unexplainable often creates strong esthetic emotions. This is why I
make such use of it in my paintings. With so much going on the canvas,
I’m often asked about the narratives in my works. Is there a
predetermined story line? What’s the message? Well, it’s embarrassing to
say in words what I have strived for years to say with images! It’s a
bit as if I was disarming my own artistic grenade! That’s how I feel at
least. The easy answer would be: “Look, it’s all in the work!” But very
few people are satisfied with that. A work of art must almost build a
kind of cocoon made of words in order to be apprehended.
I came to think that it doesn’t really matter what you paint. You just
have to paint interestingly, according to your own vision. I must admit
though that the bravado is an intrinsic part of what I do. It’s part of
my virgin gaze, uncorrupted by commercial standpoints or by scholarly
bullshit. Because I want to make paintings that reveal to the viewer
something unknown about himself, I shake him up sometimes. But can art
really exist without any surprising effect?
I think that every work of art, in a way, is a self-portrait of its
author. So it seems only natural to me to use my own image. When I
paint, I also want to discover something about myself. I want to
surprise myself and to engage myself in the process. Using my body
allows me to become a character in my own personal drama, to reflect
upon myself. Painting is very much like keeping a journal. The only
thing is that it’s made public.
I want to create visual operas of our times.
Mathieu Laca, Canada
oil on linen, 232cm X 294cm, 2009