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Art : Concept: JEAN-LUC BLANC "faux-roman visage" - 22 Mar 2014 to 23 Apr 2014

Current Exhibition

22 Mar 2014 to 23 Apr 2014

Art : Concept
13 rue des Arquebusiers
F - 75003
T: +33 1 53 60 90 30
F: +33 1 53 60 90 31

JEAN-LUC BLANC, Sans titre, 2013
crayon sur papier, pencil on paper
41 x 30 cm // 16 1/8 x 11 3/4 in. photo : Fabrice Gousset

Artists in this exhibition: JEAN-LUC BLANC

JEAN-LUC BLANC "faux-roman visage"

On occasion of his eighth personal exhibition at Art Concept, Jean Luc Blanc presents a new series of drawings and paintings. When talking about this artist, who has been shaking up the French art-scene for the last 20 years, it is difficult to get off the beaten tracks and avoid quoting his own sources of inspiration. We remember his 2009 Opera Rock exhibition at the CAPC-Bordeaux with pleasure, as an unusual retrospective in which he took the liberty of surrounding himself with his artist-friends. Generous, faithful, alternative, bizarre, this collector-at-heart definitely is a well-rounded individual, but do we really know him?

We know that he accumulates, sorts out and classifies hundreds of images taken from paper glossies, newspapers, magazines and various media supports ranging from the 70’s to nowadays; building up what seems to be a sort of timeless database which is permanently evolving and seems strangely tangible at the times when Wikipedia and Google rule. These images lay unused and undergo a decanting process until one day, one of them reveals its potential to the artist. The chosen picture, in fact often quite banal, when not overused or vulgar or symbol of a decadent society, will now generate new images. It ceases to be the mere glossy reproduction of someone’s image at a given time with no particular aesthetical quality, and becomes the conductive thread of another story, a story that unravels itself in a perpetual evolution and participates in the creation of new forms of awareness of tragedy.

In order to understand Jean Luc Blanc’s work, it is necessary to question the place occupied by images and more particularly the representation of the human figure, as well as the way in which the artist deals with it both in his choice of colors and in the construction of his drawing. By their occasional coarseness, the drawings often manage to undergo a process of de-subjectivism and break free from the average editing processes of contemporary imagery. Nowadays images at once belong to everybody and to no-one, a 15th Century Icon or any simple picture in a contemporary tabloid-magazine both find their triviality increased, while the lack of mystical aura tends to exhaust their power to “ speak to us and generate desire” (1), but what kind of desire are we referring to? In his work on images, Jean Luc Blanc redefines the idea of desire by operating a detachment between his subject and its context while at the same time introducing a notion of absurdity that will allow him to alter not only the tragic aspect of the vast process leading to the excess of global media coverage and the dumbing down of society, but also, by means of a highly developed and often cynical sense of humor, to express the resulting forms of social distress and the human behavioral disorders that it provokes.

This work tackles notions of absurdity, a sense of dismay, as well as reflections on the disgrace of a given epoch, but also the symbolic value of an image by means of the disjunction between what we see and what we feel. Akin to film-making mechanisms, especially to the techniques used by Marguerite Duras when, in her films, a voice-over describes things that the spectator cannot see, allowing him to create his own images; Jean Luc Blanc’s images leave us free to find multiple interpretations and go beyond the pre-established codes linked to painting in general, and to portrait-painting in particular. In his work, we won’t find “up to the waist” or “full length” classically framed figures; and academic rigidity is soon left behind; the framing of these frowning, plaintive and disquieting faces is strange. More than portraits these are representations of frozen moments in time, moments when everything can change; the housewife, living in her well regulated household, whose life is elapsing like a slow melody, or maybe even in a slow agony... is about to pick up the knife and slash her husband’s throat, a serial killer is about to finally take action, a hunter neutralizes his prey; ceasing to be a bucolic wanderer and turning into a killer.

The idea of representing a crucial moment, an instant where the course of events is shaken reminds us that Jean Luc Blanc’s work is also built around notions of time. Marguerite Duras used to insert omission marks, or make use of anaphora to signify the pre-eminent and ineluctable predominance of time over human beings. Jean Luc Blanc inscribes his characters within a slow and repetitive temporality punctuated by the slow and repetitive brushstrokes that he applies to the canvas. Back-and-forth movements, erasures, alterations and additions are numerous and the finitude of a canvas is never quite determined.

faux-roman visage is an exhibition that brings about the dislocation of protagonists. It is the proof that Jean Luc Blanc’s painting and drawing practice is intimately liked to single experiences and lifestyles. That goes to say that Jean Luc Blanc’s works relate more to our sensations and personal narrative than to any pre-existing or perfectly pre- established guideline. Jean Luc Blanc’s characters can be compared to camera-rolls that can be screened from right to left, be put on “pause” or played backwards, we can invent their future, touch them up. His works, halfway between palimpsests and fictional objects, hence become a means to confront humanity to itself and to its fundamental contradictions.

A.B // Translation Frieda Schumann (1)cf. Jean-Luc Blanc in conversation with Marie Maertens, in Annual, Vol.5, 2012, pp.152-154 Jean-Luc Blanc was born 1965 in Nice. He lives and works in Paris. Solo Shows : Tu me feras plaisir, Art:Concept, Paris (2009); Opéra Rock, CAPC, Bordeaux (2009), MAMCO, Geneva (2004). Group Shows: The Crime was Almost Perfect, Witte de With, Rotterdam (2014); L’heure des sorcières, Le Quartier, Quimper (2014); Les Pléiades, Abattoirs, Toulouse (2013); L’arbre de vie, Collège des Bernardins, Paris (2013); Sociétés Secrètes, CAPC, Bordeaux (2011). Public Collections : MAMCO, Geneva; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris; FRAC Rhône-Alpes, Villeurbanne; FRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Marseille; FRAC Haute Normandie, Sotteville-lès-Rouen; FRAC Pays de la Loire, Carquefou Domaine départemental de Chamarande.

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