Selected Drawings by Cedric Rivrain

In her book ‘Beauty is the Mystery of Life’, Agnes Martin stated that “all artwork is about beauty: all positive work represents it and celebrates it. All negative art protests the lack of beauty in our lives’. Taking these words into consideration as parameters of classification, it is difficult to categorize French artist Cédric Rivrain’s meticulously drafted drawings as neither. While clearly focused on the representation of beauty and sensuality with an acute attention to detail, there is a sadness to these works that suggests an immense sense of longing or loss.

Having spent a good part of his career submerged in the world of fashion, Cédric has recently decided to focus entirely on his art, obsessively developing this self-taught skill, which, to him, serves as a way to define the complexity of emotions. He also states it acts as an emotional replacer, a concept that is represented in his drawings of ‘crying machines’. These are mechanical contraptions incorporating what seem to be medical tools and used to substitute the act of crying. ‘I’ve been through a lot, but I honestly don’t have time to cry so I let my drawings do it for me’, Rivrain says with a smile. These objects would hypothetically eliminate lacrimation as the result of overwhelmingly strong feelings, thus enhancing the dichotomy present in the beautiful representation of sadness.

Similar subtleties appear in his various portraits where facial characteristics and intense glances lie beneath band-aids. These seam to serve as the contemporary tribal masks of a Western society infatuated with image – perhaps a nod to his time working with some of the major fashion houses and designers. But, most importantly, these capture an astounding and almost callous sense of human fragility, leaving the viewer overwhelmed with the various facets of psychological complexities and our ability to approach the day-to-day as if nothing major is going on inside us.

A thoughtful selection of Cédric’s drawings have recently been published by DoPe Press (of Paris/LA’s Dorothée Perret). The result is a stunning debut publication that can be found at some hotspots such as Yvon Lambert Bookstore & Colette (Paris), Opening Ceremony (NYC) and Ooga Booga (LA).