Frédérique Lucien — IL
Past: September 3 → October 10, 2015
Devoted in its entirety to recent additions to the investigation of the human body the artist first began in 2003, the exhibition comprises drawings on paper and works in plaster.
Ranged like a frieze along the gallery wall is a series of charcoal drawings on paper, all of the same format — 75.5 × 56 cm — and placed vertically or horizontally. Looking down on us from above head height, these works show pieces of a male body. A continuation of the Anonyme (Anonymous) series begun in 2010, these drawings explore the issue of physical fragmentation. The artist has worked from photographs taken in her studio, but in contrast with the Anonyme series, here only a single model has been used.
As was the case in the earlier Anonyme pieces, identification is all but impossible. The limbs are even more separate here, in that they are isolated from each other by the edges of the paper. Skin texture and details like beauty spots and wrinkles are accentuated and shown in close-up. With these fractions of bodies taken to the verge of abstraction, the result is a total loss of bearings. Modelled by the line and texture of the charcoal, this corporeal space segues towards landscape as it sublimates the human figure.
On a low table under the skylight is a group of lifesize joined hands in plaster, dating from 2014–2015. Here the artist has also worked from mouldings of the hands of relatives praying. These pieces have deliberately been left white, as a suggestion of purity. This meticulously fashioned group reproduces its subject exactly, but transcends it in its use of white and its variations on the gesture of prayer.
A third and last group combines drawings of hands and sculptures. Some of the plaster pieces represent knees or elbows in shades of orange, ochre or brown, non-naturalistic colours that heighten their strangeness and mystery. The bends and articulations alter the meaning of the shapes: the body morphs into hills and mountains, and into uneven landscapes.
In both the works on paper and those in three dimensions we find the same scale and fragmentation ratios. Shot through with ambiguity, they reveal their multiple meanings and thus transcend their initial subject, as this pondering on drawing finds expression in other media and attests to the artist’s unremitting observation of reality.
The catalogue accompanying the exhibition contains an essay by art historian Danielle Orhan.
Frédérique Lucien: upcoming solo exhibition “Chers Modèles”, Centre Interprétation Art et Culture, Bourbourg, 17 October 2015 — 6 March 2016
Opening Thursday, September 3, 2015 6 PM → 8:30 PM