"Aïni, a singular artist"

by Louis Porquet, writer and poet, December 24th 2001.

Aïni dans l'atelier - 1996

Paintings of Aïni makes use of a relatively unexpected material in the artistic milieu: matress stuffing. Using this substance mixed with glue as paste, he turns it into an amazingly malleable material. Spread across the canvas for the cause, it becomes the very flesh of his tourmented characters. And under so many trials does it sweats under the artist's hands, pressed into his doubts and fears?

Phonetically, the word carries multiple meanings, in french "la bourre" (stuffing) that ears insidiously brings close to another noun: "labour" (ploughing), that stripping of the glebe for ritual sowing, inevitably sends back to the bed, place of deep sleep, of horizontal thought and of most voluptuous caresses, tiny territory where the prodigal semen of man spurts at the climax of extasy, bearer of wonder or disaster, according to the secret state of his heart. Yet, Aïni, precisely, does not stop to talk about love, of fusion and death. The woman, of which he feels the obvious creative superiority -because only her gives life, when man, most of the time, only degrades her with his distressing need of domination- the woman is as well at the begining and at the confines of all desire. Her womb is the nebulous mould, the shadow crucible where future formulates, the safeguard of Adam's sons, the negligent that left the life tree for the knwoledge tree, delight for excitement. Woman is, more than man, essential to renew the kind, but she is, in return, scarred, victimized, sacrified to the huge myth of worldwide activism, burned to death on the altars of small ephemeral empires that leave her, nearly always, out of the brutal dreams and vain ambitions of man. Few princes have the inspiration to pass on a Taj-Mahal. Few princes have love for guideline.

However, woman is forever at the center of the universe. "That is where I come from, and that is where I ensure to always get back.", tells us the painter about her, in a warm voice where remains the exalted light of the southwest of France. WWhat a contrast, at first sight, between this comment so generous, so absolute, and the devastating irony which emanes from his work. It looks like Aïni applies to paint, to sculpt only our innate blindness, turning civilazation into a pure object of carnival. But the feast, for him, leaves a bitter taste, not to say macabre. So, comparing existence wth a river, he figures Humanity drifting on a frail skiff, unable to perceive the delicious beauty of the shores.

Is he mystical? Christian? Nothing proves it in his speech. He feels the destiny of mankind is a huge waste, a masochistic parody of true power that never applies to enslave the world but to celebrate its most intangible beauty. No doubt Aïni has something to do with it by his style, close to Francis Bacon. Tortured, lacking reference, his homonculi are lost in the middle of brackish waters, unable to grant themselves the rest that would save them, that unsurpassed reconstruction.

Everything in the painter's work shows this worry, like an exorcism, eliminating for the present anxiety that prevents fullfilment. If he points out the dark side of being, it is to better show us our vagrancies, like Dante's Inferno. And vagrancy is never far from error.

Les Chauves-Sourds - 2001

Aïni knows how much life is a precious gift of prensence, of inifinite share, of love. Anyone ignoring that is condemned to drift without fire or place.