These Palimpsest are wooden grimoires , not of papyrus, parchment or precious velum,
but wood, a strong and genuine material, natural and alive, full of knots, veins &
fibers, a material both coarse and tender, coming from far away forests and long ago
Trogne : L'hydropathe
Yann Hervis dreams of the material image of wood bark, sap-wood, core and burr. He
wants to create surfaces, engrave plains and outlines, he wants to make volumes spring
forth & buried motifs jump out - all fragments of texts concealed by layers of wood.
He knows marquetry, better than anyone; woods complex soul. He knows that wood has
a strange sensitivity, that although mute, it is alive, that it reacts intimately
to patinas, use, scratches, offences and transfigurations of time.
First the artist's hand chooses the perfect raw material for his creation, the initial
material for what will be his manuscript (the careful implementation of this step
is one of the most pleasurable for the artist). His hand holds the essences,(precious,
exotic or familiar) dreams of textures and tessitura, chooses the wood grains, their
fibers, their cut, their nuances.
Then the artist creates motifs and composes messages. He draws calligraphy and hieroglyphics
which he will bury under slender layers of wood, side by side, closely glued airtight.
It then seems that all has vanished, that the messages and images, as if buried under
immemorial alluvium, have been abolished.
Palimpsest : Ça, c'est Paris !
It is at this point that a new tool intervenes, the sand hose, this tool came into
use because of an impatience to awaken and reveal the medium. It's will is sometimes
incisive, sometimes caressing, alternately shrill and dreamy. Guided by a vigilant
hand working vigorously and meticulously, the sand (as clearly stated in the etymology
of the work Palimpsest), labors the slab of wood, works the field, taps the surface,
outlines the relief, cuts out the grooves, wears away, strips, polishes and draws
a deep geography. And that is stimulating work, a rough gentleness that commands incisions
and decisions, like the work of an engraver on copper: What should be kept ? What
should be removed ? What a delicate game of sacrifice.
So, little by little, by the xylophagous work of the sand eroding the wood with the
infinite patience of a waves backwash, fragments of very old tales are unearthed.
This is how Yann Hervis, not satisfied in performing as a demiurge, plays the "Maître