Jean-Luc Moulène: Larvae and Ghosts 15 Apr - 28 May 2016 11 Duke Street, St James's 3 Duke Street, St James's
Private View: 14 April 2016, 6-8 PM
Exhibition Dates: 15 April – 28 May 2016
‘The idea is simple: if you objectify floating mental images, they no longer float, they become legible. My work has often been about that : giving concrete existence to mental images’ - Jean-Luc Moulène
Thomas Dane Gallery is pleased to present ‘Larvae and Ghosts’ an exhibition of new work by seminal French artist Jean-Luc Moulène. His fourth solo presentation at the gallery, the show is comprised of floor, table and wall-based work. Moulène’s approach is one of perpetual interrogation. Attempts to classify his work inevitably lead to an impasse - his method of object and image-making constituting a clear rejection of the cannons and typologies of sculpture, photography and drawing.
Essentially a pragmatist, Moulène sees his objects and images as ‘tools’ to reveal social or natural phenomena, and his working method constitutes a series of ‘protocols’ or rules for making. His primary concern is the relationship between the object and the image, which are negotiated via propositions around the body – ‘pre-born’ or ‘already-dead’, human and animal, whole and in fragments, declined, allegorical, carnal, grotesque, or clinically exact... This preoccupation with the body may result from Moulène’s work with French performance artist, Michel Journiac, during the late seventies.
The larger works in the exhibition are the first iterations of Moulène’s ‘Coupes’ or ‘Cuts’ which extend the approach of his celebrated ‘Usures’ or ‘Erosions’ – seen in A Slip of the Tongue at the Punta de la Dogana Venice in 2015. Severing generic English garden sculptures from their context and breaching the surface of one figure with the substance of the next, Moulène collapses all narrative, allegorical and material distinctions. The skulls of a donkey and pig – each embedded in a concrete shell of itself and then severed in half - are presented as re-imagined bivalves.
In contrast to the sobriety of concrete and stone, intense colour is conjugated via several further cumulative objects. Les ‘Voyelles’ - the decoding of a poem by the French symbolist Rimbaud – is a lateral aggregation of incongruous found plastic objects, while ‘Fairy Fantasy’, a deliriously grotesque corpus of porcine, polyhedral and extruded shapes, nears the limits of intelligibility.
A group of ink drawings and watercolours, the latter a new medium for Moulène, render still more complex the syntax of the exhibition.
Born in 1955, Jean-Luc Moulène studied Aesthetics and Sciences of Art at the Sorbonne University in Paris, where he currently lives and works. Important solo presentations are in preparation at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (Autumn 2016) and Secession, Vienna (Spring 2017). Moulene has participated in Documenta X (1997), the Sao Paulo Biennial (2002), the Venice Biennial (2003), the Taipei Biennial (2004), the First International Biennial of the Image (Laos, 2007) and the Sharjah Biennial (2010). Among the institutions that have dedicated solo exhibitions to his work are Centre d’Art Contemporain de Genève (2003), Musée du Louvre, Paris (2005), Culturgest, Lisbon (2007), and Carré d’art-Musée d’art contemporain, Nîmes (2009), Dia:Beacon (2012), Hanover Kunstverein (2104), Villa Medici, Rome (2015). Moulène’s work has been included in countless group exhibitions all over the world.
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