The music fills the workshop – Satie’s Gymnopédie or a pop tune, depending on the day – as a young silhouette standing solidly before the large easel works back and forth across three large sheets of paper. With his cursive writing, Anton Hirschfeld weaves lists of names, family and friends, into processional columns that form the unexpected fabric of his works. It is the essence of this immutable prelude that Nancy Huston seized upon: “Links. Ropes. Threads that tie us together. Weaving of the soul. It is about never losing the thread, never breaking the link. The fabric of relations to others, symbolized by their names, is the basso continuo of our existence.” As if Anton was making a bed of his relationships on which to lay down his paintings. As if pastel, acrylic or ink - and the entire composition forming the chain of this canvas - as if everything was arranged according to these secret links and the rhythm of the music. And the miracle is accomplished with disconcerting evidence. To observe it, it would even seem, as for the illustrious Pablo, that Anton does not seek, he finds.
And so, even works inspired by photographs of New York are transformed into challenges. Chromatic challenges, plastic challenges, rhythmic challenges, stylistic challenges. New York is no longer New York; it is more. The cacophony of Manhattan is made into its substance, its spatiality, revealed, so to speak, by new colors and contours.
The sensations are there, vibrant as the light, radical in their lines, melodious in their palette. Baudelaire used to write about this: “The right way to know if a painting is melodious is to look at it from far enough away so that you understand neither its subject nor the lines. If it is melodious, it already has a meaning, and it has already taken its place in the repertoire of memories.”
Anton Hirschfeld treats all the subjects he explores with the same breadth, to the point that abstraction and figuration literally fuse. If fundamentally all that interests him are the prodigious possibilities of form, this form would be nothing without the energy that flows through it and the structure that lies beneath. To the point that sometimes the names hemmed on the surface of the sheet are discernable through the transparency of a color, as if to remind us of this inextinguishable source. From precisely that point, on the side of the inexpressible, on the side of the inexplicable, to which the artist submits, and to which he submits us with him.
Since nothing – in an existence that has struggled so hard to extract him from his chrysalis – predisposed this 26-year old man to teach us that art is not only the path, but is also the origin and the destination.
[ a 250 pages catalogue prefaced by Nancy Huston is published]