About “From the other to the similar and from the same to the same” by Georges Barbier Ludwig


This painting is presented as a diptych and can be linked to a series of artworks where the artist explores the notion of artwork, the concept of the creative act, and themes such as the studio, the model, and the allegory of painting. Philippe Lagrange’s works tell stories, demonstrate, question, and sometimes disturb the viewers, often possessing multiple layers of interpretation. The titles frequently serve as keys or hints for interpreting the artwork.

The description of the painting depicts a trompe l’oeil on a uniformly yellow ocher background, consisting of five overlapping leaves, each representing fragments of previous artworks. Various elements are depicted, including an image of a gnome with a pipe, a skeleton, a mask, a portrait of the “Mère Denis” (a popular advertising figure from the 1970s), shoe forms or shoe trees, and a dwarf holding a strapped head. The artist uses these details to offer a glimpse into his work, employing trompe l’oeil as a means of creating a quick synthesis.

The artwork raises questions about false resemblances and illusions. The transformation of the star into a hexagon symbolizes the artist’s exercise of style, while the shoe forms represent the painter’s activity and symbolize both preservation and the search for new forms. The hexagon, representing the artist’s new living and studio space, signifies a significant change in the artist’s life. Additionally, the painting can be interpreted in the context of French history, with references to the Jewish star during World War II, the brothers Grimm, and the mother Denis representing the national entity. The artwork can also be seen as a reflection of the artist’s personal experiences, including a change in residence and studio.

These three interpretations provide possible readings of the artwork, but it is important to note that the painting allows for various other analyses. The chromatic problem posed by the two-colored lines of the polygones is also noteworthy. Overall, the artist invites viewers to progress while remaining vigilant and critical, to discern false resemblances and uncover potentially dangerous falsehoods.