Genêt Mayor — Ricochet Rabbit
Past: March 16 → April 20, 2013
For his second solo show at Galerie Samy Abraham, Swiss artist Genêt Mayor presents a new set of works developing and translating his current repertoire of objects, forms and patterns. The title Ricochet Rabbit articulates a double reference from mainstream televisual culture: the name of one of the American cartoon character from Hanna-Barbera whose adventures were first broadcasted in 1964 (a rabbit working as a sheriff in the wild West) and more recently, in 2011, Ricochet Rabbit was the title of an episode of the critically acclaimed American TV show Dexter. Is it a way for Mayor to remind us that abstraction is no longer reserved to a niche of connoisseurs but now belongs to the mainstream and to an incessant flux of reciprocal exchanges? That abstraction is expanding beyond its original purpose and constantly interacting with other fields: comic strips, cartoons or graphic design applied to commercial fields, packaging or ornaments used for mundane, domestic, mass-produced objects?
Abstraction can be found everywhere and it is obviously considered by Mayor to be a pervasive, widespread and diffuse visual phenomenon. No need for illusion or kinetic effects, neither for flat, smooth or large surfaces, the abstract painting already left its frame long ago and since the beginning, Mayor was part of it. He has been evolving in the opposite direction of some of the major historical trends like the overall or the Color Field painting, but sometimes not that far from vague echoes of biomorphic or surrealist movements.
With the spirit of a true explorer and the freedom of a twisted and flawed abstraction, his formal repertoire — or should we say his curiosity cabinet — does not only consist in liberating the abstract forms from their surface. It also invites us to reconsider the visual and artistic qualities of a selection of found objects. Is it a stone or a dog dumb-bell converted into a plinth, an architectural model or a playground to display some smaller DIY sculptures (Piano Dog 2012)? Besides, Mayor also allows himself some incursions in the realm of figuration, regularly including animals and mythological, cryptic or submarine creatures (the Yeti or Bigfoot, the Loch Ness, etc). Sometimes, the naive style of those figures crosses a direct reference to African popular painting (The Dark Whatever, 2012). And on the wall, as in Maintenant, a hand is catching the stripes of the wall painting running over some wooden sticks, like what happens in Tex Avery cartoons, when the bad wolf runs out of the frame. In Mayor’s practice, abstraction reveals its unending rechargeable potential as well as it manifests itself as being the most slippery path to resourceful visions.
Besides what the artist gives us to see, its title strategy, the language itself — names, puns and collages — also open a considerably rich dimension connoting the manifold combinations of abstract patterns with various types of unexpected mediums, found objects and materials. The over-scripted, complex metaphoric title echoes for instance Alphonse Allais’ parodies of monochromes in the 1880s, developed by Dada and surrealist artists from the 1910s to the 1930s, and reinvented by formalist art and criticism in the 1950s and 1960s. Mayor plays with titles to challenge any formalist interpretations and to bounce back as a ricochet or a running and uncatchable rabbit.