The Directors of Thomas Dane are pleased to announce Closer, the first solo exhibition of French artist Jean-Luc Moulène in the UK, which follows his retrospective at the Museé du Jeu de Paume in Paris and a site-specific installation at the Musée du Louvre. The exhibition will include photographic works alongside new sculptures.
Often working from the sidelines of traditional art photography, Moulène analyses very specific situations: products manufactured in Palestine, arcane objets d'arts, urban and rural landscapes... He examines the history, aesthetics and functions of photography, pushing its boundaries as a deliberate means of scrutinising natural and cultural phenomena, as redefined through time by industry, media and commerce.
In Closer, Moulène will focus on the human figure, through a very intimate relationship with his models and a re-examination of the portrait genre as well as via a more socially charged investigation of the human condition and artefacts.
In Nuquirit, the sinuous and almost hysterical figure of French actress/singer Jeanne Balibar bursts out against a yellow monochrome background, in a moment of almost sinister laughter and pose reminiscent of the iconic 1972 image by Nick Ut of Vietnamese girl Kim Phuc running naked. Meanwhile, in Chef and La Faucheuse, anonymous labourers are caught imprinting their silhouette within highly evocative yet totally un-romanticised backgrounds.
Moulene's photographic work lies somewhere between the Fine Arts, the political pamphlet and the media image, revealing a deep social and political awareness: the gap between reality and its slick, standardised representation has been blurred. In Closer, Moulène alternates portraits with poetic or more unaffected street views and 'still lives' of an ink bottle or a television monitor, asking us again to redefine our appreciation of the photographic language.
Moulène's sculpted and graphic work is part of a wider reflection on the elevation of the image/figure to iconic status. His sculptures are surreal shapes, idiosyncratic assemblages and gatherings, which along with his photographs and drawings, share an interest in the relationships between background and figure and how they 'activate' each other.
In Closer, Moulène puts on display a group of new sculptures, including a cryptic wooden crucifix, painted with seven layers of yellow paint, scrupulously following academic oil-painting techniques, suspended in air, the bizarre cluster of Cristal Sex, a collage of cut-outs from his infamous 'Les Filles d'Amsterdam' 2005 photographic series.
Jean-Luc Moulène was born in Reims in 1955. He studied Literature and Philosophy at the Sorbonne University and was awarded his doctorate. He currently lives and works in Paris.