Oscillating between the art of landscape and that of architecture, Mathilde Lestiboudois’ painting invents places, a whole new world that we can admire. Far from the traditional scenes of unbridled nature, the space here is purified to the extreme. The landscapes are cold and open to infinity, with only a horizon line and the glow of a star that rises or sets indifferently. Much more than a show that seduces its audience, the painted landscapes impose themselves as a metaphor for the harmony or disorder of society.
A few everyday objects, a chair, a table, white sheets – all evocative of a human presence – are carefully arranged and surrounded by incomplete architectural elements. Columns, round arches, staircases or doors leading nowhere are Mathilde Lestiboudois’ obsessions. We are in front of her paintings as we are in front of a show, sitting in a theatre, waiting for the actors or at the end of a performance. Without imposing a model of thought and without seeking the viewer’s easy emotion, the painter suggests that we step onto the stage and take hold of this space. She invites us to project our own fiction onto it: here a naiad who, after having basked in it, has forgotten her drapery near a pool; here the ancient curia which has just ended, leaving the imprint of the bodies of the politicians on the armchairs covered with white sheets.
Imbued with references to the architecture of both ancient Greece and modern Spain, the paintings exude a magical and enigmatic aura. It is this suspended atmosphere that allows for an almost therapeutic projection: some see harmonious spaces creating a feeling of serenity while others perceive the emptiness of the composition with anxiety.
By moving away from what is traditionally expected of landscape and architectural painting, Mathilde Lestiboudois devotes herself to the concrete and symbolic construction of a space of her own, a space of freedom and peace. If a place – in the anthropological sense of the term – is a landmark for individuals, a place steeped in history and the theatre of social relations.
The spaces Mathilde Lestiboudois transports us to tend to upset our certainties. She proposes a completely different experience: that of solitude, strolling and personal introspection. The accuracy of the volumes, the precision of the perspective and the chromatic tranquillity give the impression that time has stopped, that reality has been frozen by the painter’s vision. Through this static figurative order, one seeks to penetrate the intimacy of things offered to the everyday and yet never conquered. This poetry of ordinary objects is the promise of a timeless painting in which meditation is the main component. We are no longer locked in the cruelty of the contemporary world and can delight in the absence of the human being with malice. Let us lose ourselves in the painting, let us follow it with confidence, as if we were following an unbalanced compass that leads us to a hidden treasure.
It is during this wandering, in this symbolic place beyond the physical appearance of reality, that a mental space is discovered that is open to greater contemplative freedom, a place of creation.