Léopold Rabus & guests:
Based on a true story
Pat Andrea was born into a family of artists, in the Netherlands in 1942.
From 1960 to 1965, he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. In 1977, he was invited by Jean Clair to participate in the exhibition "La nouvelle subjectivité" at the Festival d'automne in Paris, with artists including Jim Dine, David Hockney, Kitaj, Raymond Mason and Olivier O. Olivier. He travels to Latin America and settles for several years in Buenos Aires. Starting in 1989, he makes his first sculptures in bronze. Pat Andrea teaches at the Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Positioning himself « between Bacon and Balthus », he has developed figurative painting that creates a universe at once ambiguous and unsettling.
In Pat Andrea's oeuvre, grand protagonists – erotic and troubling, often female – emerge straight from the painter's subconscious onto the canvas. Here we find his favourite themes: sex, violence and death. Looking at Pat Andrea's paintings, we get a disquieting behind-closed-doors glance at male and female nudes, figures unsteady and anxiety ridden. The scene, or more properly the staged setting, usually comprises a geometrically designed space, a room, a staircase… Here, no landscapes: for the artist, "landscapes undo human relationships; I prefer behind closed doors". The figure of a dog is also omnipresent in Pat Andrea's works.
The works of Mathieu Boisadon are dazzling visions born out of a suffering that usually erases other sorrows. Such seems to be the infernal cycle of the human condition. Happily for tomorrow, the expression of this does not have to be reduced to destruction or desolation. This is what murmurs from behind an emphatically effective aesthetic… the artist who between black and white puts forward a universe of levels of grey, full of feeling and with a sense of questioning and introspection. A proponent of feeling, in a world grown blasé from having "seen too much on television", the artist is resolute in not turning his back on the world. And this is Mathieu Boisadon's commitment: placing the body in art, and the head in quest of a door open to a quite uncertain lack of concern. It is up to the viewer to find a place there, to walk along this path with the artist while never forgetting along the way that "the aim of art (…) is not to entertain, but to resist against the course of the world" (Theodor W. Adorno)
At a time when society is moving at an ever-faster pace, Fabian Boschung (b. 1983) has chosen to dwell at those moments where the adult voluntarily regresses. The human and animal body occupies a central place in his work, though not necessarily being omnipresent. The artist draws inspiration from real situations where the body is dominated or fragmented by a particular device or a construction. His investigations focus on, among other subjects, the world of the carnival, burlesque film or, more recently, on certain TV genres (like Trash TV, for example). Fabian Borschung shifts these situations into the world of art, like when he re-interprets vertigo-inducing machines created by members of the group Jackass. It can well happen that the suggestive forms of these sculptures might just invite the spectator to proceed to act…
My work treats the relationship that humankind has with its environment.
One must admit that civilized man is in a conflictual rapport with nature. He has contained its expansion by controlling it, by putting boundaries in place. By so doing, he has gradually come to define his territory outside of nature. And although amusing himself with "nature-in-a-pot", in the end he has done everything to extract himself from it. At the heart of his personal environment, he naturally seeks to protect himself. The house is his physical shelter. Laws and prohibitions seek to protect him from his own impulses. These boundaries, fragile human constructions, are necessarily vulnerable.
It takes only a little for this partitioned world to recover its permeability.
Appearance in a space of intimacy thus assumes a form of an intrusion, of a disorder.
Alain DELLA NEGRA and Kaori KINOSHITA
How to document a fiction? That question is at the core of the films made by Alain Della Negra and Kaori Kinoshita who, since their meeting in 2001 at Fresnoy-Studio National des arts contemporains, have continued to remain interested in those who seek their happiness outside of society. By taking refuge in a virtual or community-based reality, their astonishing protagonists confront on a daily basis the porous frontier between fiction and reality. Working principally in the documentary-film format, they have received the Grand Prix du 54e Salon de Montrouge, and have also exhibited in the Modules at the Palais de Tokyo (Paris) in 2009.
In the series "dégradés" (degraded), the work consists of uniting two colours which by their nature – whether vivid, luminous, drab, deep, bright or dark – might create a situation. The painter's intention resides in the circumstances of these contacts.
A vivid colour, for instance, can eventually degrade, lose its pigmentation and melt and disappear into an inexistent colour, nameless. Another situation can plunge it into shadow, just like a deep colour can suddenly transform itself into a dense, warm mass. These situations, more precisely these encounters, these bonds of dependence and reciprocal influence, make and are the subject of each of these paintings. The key is situated in the passage of one colour to another, the movement of ascent or descent, the proportion of each colour at the heart of the image, their positions, the presence of liaisons, the hierarchy within which each responds. The ultimate aim being to arrive at a feeling.
François Jaques has now been working with artificial light for seven years.
He has explored many aspects of having public light becoming art when transformed and installed in a museum or an exhibition.
(Many works with streetlights, disco lights, stroboscopes…)
In his latest works, the NR, he uses neon signs (also basically street objects) which he designs himself, and then works on the colours inside the lightboxes with stage colour light-filters which he rolls round white neon's, as a kind of "techno-painter". The power of the white neon light influences the colour of the filters and the opal acrylic glass diffuses the light and mixes the colours. The limit constituted by the surface of a traditional painting which holds the image within its frame is here transgressed: What the viewer is confronted with, finally, is a kind of "artificial Rothko" which contaminates the space beyond its frame.
Born on November 8, 1950 at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Jean-Michel Jaquet – after studying graphic art in Geneva – has essentially consecrated himself to his pictorial universe. Since 1973, he has regularly exhibited in Switzerland and abroad. His works figure in numerous public and private collections. In 2003, a book entitled Euphorie (in the series "Les Cahiers dessinés" directed by Frédéric Pajak) was devoted to him. With a preface from Michel Tournier and published by Editions Buchet Chastel, this volume contains some 200 colour reproductions that encompass over three decades of the artist's work. After France and Egypt, Jean-Michel Jaquet has been living and working in Corsier-sur-Vevey since 1999.
Kosta Kulundzic is an artist of both French and Serbian origins, born in 1972, and currently lives and works in Paris. In 1998 he graduated with high honours from the Ecole nationale superieure d'architecture des Beaux-Arts de Paris. He is most famous for his large oil paintings that have been shown in a series of art events such as the Istanbul Biennale and the American Bishop Museum. Kulundzic concentrates his themes on beliefs and mysticism in our society. Modern society produces myths and idealized heroes. It offers a priceless quantity of idols and images related to worship. Kulundzic uses these images to paint very actual mystical characters, altered divinities, old-fashioned heroes, who seem closer to us, submerged within our everyday life. Working on texts from the Bible, the artist underlines that the same old story is continuous, and nothing really changes.
Renaud Loda (b. 1981) takes turns as artist and curator. He is founder of l'espace OLM, a space situated in an inter-zone, at the intersection of reality and virtuality – in fact, under a highway bridge. He is an obsessional artist/collector where fetishism, associated with a practice of citation and reference, is inscribed within the perspective of a revisited postmodernism. His multi-disciplinary work, not devoid of humour, focuses on a reflection concerning the notion of limit, and can take on the aspect of an exasperating investigation of new conceptual frontiers, going as far as realizing an anthology of extra-terrestrial art.
The work of Mingjun Luo (b. 1963) carries the mark of two cultures: trained at Hunan University (China) where she also held the post of assistant in the Fine Arts Faculty, Mingjun Luo satisfied the exigencies of a traditional savoire-faire while mastering painting to perfection. Based in Switzerland for some twenty years now, confronted with the history and codes of contemporary Western art, she has acquired a different critical vision, a perspective on the sense of her work that permits her to actively reflect upon the double aspect of her identity. Delicate, transparent and subtle, her white paintings and drawings in Chinese ink carry the traits of a great inner force. In this way she approaches images – landscapes, personal items – as so-many interrogations on just what constitutes them: memory and the present, identification and difference.
In her oils-on-canvas as well as in her drawings on paper, she develops a technique based on erasure/deletion, permitting her to subtly re-transcribe images from her personal souvenirs. It is naturally the fragility of silver prints, and their uniqueness once the negative is lost, that comes to mind.
Francisco da MATA
Resolutely visual and of an irreproachable technical quality, these works – halfway between art and design – instantly charm us like his shot-down stars and other reflecting surfaces. If on first approach it presents an easy reading that flatters our aesthetic sense, this admiration is just as soon replaced by the emergence of a subjacent superficiality. Like a brilliant strategy that joyously indulges in a game of appearances. Francisco da Mata disguises in order to better reveal. By appropriating from the world of advertising and its parade of slogans, of illusion and intoxicating vanities, the artist criticizes - by way of an ironic plagiary - the drift of a society that is at pains to find its own identity. Masked with an imposing splendour of magnetic attraction, his works also stigmatize the malaise of an artist wrestling with art as consumer product. Like a mirrored lure, the work of Francisco da Mata is cutting and incisive in its critique of futility.
On Stéphane Pencreac'h's painting − sombre, carnal and violent − there floats the shadow of the great artists who have preceded him. Here, we sometimes recognize a colour or a form, but primarily the essential and eternal themes that art has never ceased to explore: love, sex, death, war, solitude and creation. The objects that the artist includes in his canvases – photographs, fragments of a mannequin, toys – spring from the surface as if to snatch the viewer, to take him/her into the very interior of the work and towards another world, where, perhaps, answers to all these questions might be found.
Since the middle of the 1990s, Simon Pasieka has been elaborating his original oeuvre, comprising paintings and black pencil drawings investigating the implications of social conditioning and at the same time the possibilities of seeing and of living differently in this world. His work is figurative, narrative, and in this sense inevitably raising comparison with Neo Rauch, Matthias Weischer, Tim Eitel and other representatives of the new German pictorial scene. Pasieka did his studies in Brunswick and has lived in Paris since 1998, allowing his oeuvre to develop far from the media hype. The tenor of his work and his pictorial transpositions hook up here and there to those from stars of the artistic milieu: abrupt spatial overlapping enters within and without, the passage from abstraction toward a concrete reading, scraps of memories, of dreams and irrational associations, historical and societal allusions. Revealed is a certain number of points in common in the representation of the human being: but this is marked by great individuality and inscribed within a universe and a way of thinking that is eminently personal.
Nazanin Pouyandeh juxtaposes her memories and the outside world. The energy emanating from her paintings are transmissions of her cross-cultural identity. In the majority of the paintings, she creates a world of her own where the landscapes are glorious and often magical. Characters fill up the paintings in the predetermined pose as defined by the artist, each playing their own role, posed for eternity. The landscapes, trees and rocks are often hiding secrets and imagery, thus inviting the viewer to excavate and find the deeper layers. The paintings are a summons to explore a world that is illogical, and frozen in time. There is at the same time something familiar and foreign in her works. A familiarity and sincerity that is attractive and yet puzzling. The world seems to be a fusion to her, east meets west and they merge effortlessly. She is a unique painter and an explorer who seems to have listened and learned the history of the whole world, all of its stories and fables and is able to visually transfer them to her paintings. The power of her imagination is overwhelming; so is the harmony of her colours. Perhaps it is best not to try to explain her work, but to float in the beauty of the world she creates.
Sara le ROY
"I am trying to portray the fragility and illusion of existence, the knowledge that life, after the illusions and distractions are swept away, is one in which we are all ultimately alone in our bodies, and death is the one companion that will follow us to the very end where the bodies we are trapped in during life will corrupt and reveal the calcium prison, so beautiful and yet so clearly recognisable as the absence of life." "Combining the figure with abstraction and surrealism using found imagery from both the media and photographic images that I take myself in and around London, cut up and rearranged into compositions in the form of collage which are then used as the starting point for my paintings in oil to ultimately depict life such as it is immersed and regurgitated through the eyes of the media."
The painting of Denis Schneider is abstract. Abstract as was Egyptian painting, which employed the appearance of reality in order to capture forces there. Ignoring usual classifications, he handles the sign as a colour, here retaining nothing but the energy, the vibrational power, the setting in tension with other signs, of all orders, of all reigns, of all origins. Her painting primarily addresses the "operating being", incantatory, active, without a care to being in line with our expectations. It uses, according to need, seduction or repulsion like energy pathways placed at the service of the work's deep meaning. The question of "beauty" appears secondary, and each painting calls for an opening, erasing all a priori, the acceptance of disconcerting aesthetic models renewed in each canvas.
The drawings of Tenko oscillate between abstraction and figuration, between reality and friction. Tenko observes, in minute detail, individuals whose disarticulated bodies translate a certain malaise: "The ambivalence of individuals is at the centre of my artistic preoccupations."
Benjamin Taillard, aka Tenko, a Swiss artist who sets to paper an imaginary world mixed with anxiety and violence, and within which bodies are dripping and twisted. The artist is the 2009 winner of the Prix de la Fondation Huguenin-Dumittan, accorded during the 69th Biennale at La Chaux-de-Fonds.
"Painting is at the base of my work. The technique utilized is that of oil painting, which I apply to large formats. I see myself in the new wave of painting conceived on the basis of photorealism. I would like the image to be a reflection of our times, and for this I draw my inspiration directly from the media that surrounds us, like from art, the web, magazines and particularly the effect of the digitalization of images, in photography, television, film – from where I try to capture light. That which is so recreated in my paintings gives the illusion of reproducing the scintillations of a computer screen or that of a video clip." Jean-Thomas Vannotti has retained from his graffiti experience, the violence, the fury; he utilizes this to immortalize an eroticized, glacial world. He goes through the image to render it pretty much raw, and at first view close to the aesthetic of hip art magazines, but then with a rapport to the body and to the material that is quite fascinating. Jean-Thomas offers us a mix between works very highly finished, worked almost too meticulously on the basis of already very stylized images caught by the camera, and other works, more spontaneous, sprayed upon cast-off material, like a wooden palette.
Pointless to ask the artist why he would have presented a Madonna here in Sulpician vestments and why, elsewhere, a guérillero from Mexico. The references revive all the sleeping folk of our memory, and seeing awaken one or other of these figures, one city surrounded by ramparts, one pensive profile of Judith, at once surprises and touches us. Not the mushy emotion of sentimentality, but the vertigo you experience when a reminiscence comes to replace the actual experienced reality, and when this reminiscence awakens us with the painful jolt of what we've tried to hide from till then.
In his larges collages, Marko Velk readjusts these figures and links them without fearing to place different epochs and geographies side-by-side. In these areas outside of any human chronology, the artist invents connections and a logic which History has not yet dreamed of and which unwinds in the infinity of their metamorphoses."
Sébastien Verdon (b. 1979) investigates the relationships between bi-dimensional or tri-dimensional times and spaces. His propositions try to fathom the ambiguity of the present by a game of tension between physical and mental dimensions, between the real and artifice, between palpable and impalpable. "I constantly seek retro-futuristic means; by that I mean, to think of the future by playing with futuristic codes of the past." An adept of self-mockery, it is with a certain distance that Sébastien Verdon positions himself against the ideologies of art today. Conscious of the difficulty of escaping from an inevitable aesthetization and formalization of artistic practice, he nonetheless attempts to rise to an impossible challenge: to produce work that is unclassifiable.
One does not describe Vuk Vidor's painting: too varied, too surprising, too mysterious in certain cases. But it is painting. But not painting to (try to) please. Painting that is no doubt personal (a number of motifs are allied to the artist's intimate life), but also first and foremost painting that is combative. A combat led, thus, not outside of painting (this genre disparaged, it seems) but frankly in the painting, that of today (it's not yet dead- pass the news), inseparable from that of yesterday. About painting and its history, Vuk Vidor has very clear ideas, very trenchant, that he manages to express with a delightful brio. "…Vuillard was better than Bonnard, Tapiès was always the same, Rauschenberg was better before, Twombly always painted shit, Bacon was better alive," he affirms notably in a recent painting-writing ("Art History", 1999).
"A true manifesto, perfectly joyous."