n supersymmetry, the neutralino is a truly neutral hypothetical particle, which has yet to be detected or observed. Eric Baudart's exhibition “Neutralino” does not attain the same dizzying heights of detachment as the particle it is named after, but the neutrality it deploys can be detected and observed: eliminating unnecessary, overly conspicuous or ostentatious details from his found objects, the artist transmutes them into unbiased, impartial abstractions of the scarred, soiled or desire-laden commodities they once were.
Take, for instance, RévolutionIII (2019), a rotating metal display stand housed in a transparent glass case that positively invites both detection and observation. The blemishes and imperfections on its base have been neutralized by a coat of white paint, while the smooth, unhurried rotations of the display stand's four metallic grids create soothing, hypnotic moiré effects that seem to slow down the passage of time. Blurring the boundaries between a real object and an idealized reproduction, the work questions the seemingly hard-and-fast distinctions between the real, the ideal and the unreal. dumBBell (2019) likewise subjects found objects to far-reaching transformations. Consisting of a metal bar with a detergent pack filled with concrete attached to either end, it neutralizes the hard slog associated with weight-lifting by recasting the supernatural cleansing properties that washing powder brands ascribe to their products, in the form of superhuman physical strength. Here, neutrality in the sense of eliminating imperfection has been hijacked by consumerism and turned into a desirable, albeit unattainable, ideal.
Whereas these two works embody an idealistic vision of neutrality, tableau n°9 (2019), a silvery framed tarpaulin hanging on the wall, suggests a truly indifferent blank slate – a degree-zero of painting that reflects the colours and shapes located in its immediate vicinity, acting as a neutral projection surface for the viewer's thoughts and desires. Yet while the shiny projection surface offered by tableau no. 7 posits openness and infinite variability, the no less blank surface of 'conCav' UltraWhite (2019) has had its formerly vivid colours deadened by a coat of white paint, suggesting closure. Mid-way between a painting and a sculpture, the work consists of a stack of posters piled one on top of the other. The posters' ashy white edges form intricate layered constructions, that, like a spectral picture frame, surround the hermetic, opaque area at the work's centre. Mute and unyielding, 'conCav' UltraWhite seems to offer a fleeting glimpse of the truly neutral.
Rahma Khazam, Paris, March 2019