Julien Beneyton — Remember That
Past: December 2 → 31, 2011
« A picture is essentially a flat surface covered in colors and arranged in a certain order. » Forget the rest. Twenty-four pictures or just one, lines of writing or fragmented bodies, figurative or conceptual approach. Julien Beneyton’s latest exhibition allows for multiple levels of reading, but reminds us first and foremost that painting is a manifesto.
Paradoxically, this new work uses memories to explore new areas. Firstly, it is the reactivation of an art history mixing old and contemporary masters. Without doing the genealogy from which this series of portraits is an heir, we can note some of the elements inspired by those great figures: highlighting, unified backgrounds, choice of « costumes », depiction of flesh, (de)structured compositions, arrangement of letters, color theory, meta-painting. As many commonplace references thought as archetypes, offering semiologic reminiscences.
From form to content, the symbol of the tattoo links the big stories to the small ones. Until recently, this mark, a picture embodied, was reserved to society’s fringe: convicts, prostitutes, lunatics, deported, rockers etc. If today the sign has spread to the extent its essence is diluted, the same that was capable of inspiring the fire of revolt, we like to look among these twelve close-ups, the tattooed who might belong to the original bearers. Something the correspondences keep under silence.
The unveiling that Julien Beneyton recalls in this series is not only a story of lifted clothes. It is first and foremost the strength of representation and the violence of intimacy that he shapes. Words and actions. Twenty-four paintings like twenty-four portraits, shared memories, painful or fun, light-hearted or serious. He paints the flesh, what it says and what it remembers. He communicates a depth that is all the more profound since it is anonymous. And reveals the soul inked in the body.