Macadam Gallery is pleased to present the second solo show "Pont des RAL" by TOMA-L (Thomas Labarthe) in Brussels.

* Developed in 1927 RAL is a system of color codification: a color chart.
* RAL stands for Reichsausschuß für Lieferbedingungen

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“In the beginning, I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I want to know what prefigures my
paintings…”

POP02 Carnival, Colors on Paper, 120x80cm. 2021.
SL21 Pensée, Colors on Paper, 120x80cm. 2021.

HERE, WE SPEAK TO ONE ANOTHER

Unbound figures, demonstration over explanation, drastic new graphics and a fourteen strong color palette borrowed directly from Warhol. Toma-L returns to a striking figurative style, in his latest series “Pont des RAL”.

The painter’s gambit: All the pieces from the Pont des RAL* collection were first composed upon a vast chess board. In the beginning he painted a saturated board from which he then extracted certain figures and graphic elements. “From the outset, everything was there, all the game’s pieces. I just kidnapped them so to speak, and recomposed them, first into drawings, then large-scale paintings.”

* Developed in 1927 RAL is a system of color codification: a color chart.
* RAL stands for Reichsausschuß für Lieferbedingungen

“With this series I feel less like I’m working with abstraction, it’s much more figurative, and it’s a pleasant experience” confides the artist.

RSB19 Bahamas, Colors on Paper, 161x22cm. 2021.
FOR23 Feuillage, Colors on Paper, 161x122cm. 2021.

These new figures break away from the shapes and forms usually found in Toma-L’s work. In a painstaking process, he used very dense, dry chalk and added the black by brush before injecting precisely fourteen colors. His wish? “To make the colors talk, resonate with one another”. I was wholly influenced by the color pallet which I found magnificent in Warhol’s Shadows serigraph series.

“With the RAL naming system, during the installation process, everybody speaks the same chromatic language. Having that reference framework allows us to properly communicate.” Simply speaking about ‘yellow’ evokes thousands of shades…

Here, meaning is expressed through fourteen different colors. “Even when I let myself explore different light renderings, I never surpassed fourteen. Despite fixing myself this constraint, the possible combinations are almost limitless. Just like on a chess board, the number of squares doesn’t change, but the number of moves that can be played out on them are infinite.”

“What counts for me is being in movement, in action in the crudest possible state. I’ve always wanted to show things more than I’ve wanted to say them. Jostled and locked down like everyone living under the current restrictions, this new game of colors soothed me. This new chromatic chapter in the Pont des RAL has empowered me…”

Théophile Pillault, 2021

FRE12, Colors on Paper, 161x122cm. 2021.
FRE12, Colors on Paper, 161x122cm. 2021.
FOR23 Feuillage, Colors on Paper, 161x122cm. 2021.