Samuel François — recent works
Past: May 12 → June 16, 2012
For too long a time affiliated to urban art, Samuel François demonstrates with recent works that his work easily exceeds the city and its outskirts. Skillful back and forth between ornamental, minimalism and surrealism, his new productions build up a personal museum.
From this path made of dead ends and multiplied down roads, the French artist born in 1977 in Pompey, in Lorraine, proposes a set of works widely inspired by the classic codes of museography. Recent works echoes his last exhibition in Brussels. Monochrome cotton canvases stretched on frames, minimal structure and a slide show compose this third personal exhibition of Samuel François at the gallery JeanrochDard.
Promenade, series of photographs taken in the Musée de l’École de Nancy on the occasion of the exhibition A new idea of landscape_, attempt to recreate and to re-appropriate representations of nature during a visit in that old-fashioned scenography’s museum. In the same way he cuts up in pages of magazines to isolate fragments similar to his paintings (_Spontaneous series), Samuel reframes his images until we can no longer distinguish the figurative pattern. Entre-deux, a minimal form freely inspired by furniture maintains in balance two penholders, thus finding a use for these seats deprived of their functionality. Still inspired by museographic elements, the Mighty Blue series composes a set of falsely monochrome paintings that reveal the marks of their production, studio dust, tracks of wear. Yet It is all about painting ! as in the Granites series, a sort of reference color chart, in which the artist plays with the color spits of a spray that give us effects of materials.
Proof is that, if Samuel François is unconventional, he is also rigorous. Playing delicately with the codes of varied currents, he succeeds in creating a formal and sensitive balance. Balance where the past and its nostalgic tints, spread out through biographical elements (more or less identifiable), infuse in an unstructured and branched out present.
The geographical location of the artist tells a lot about his inspirations. Based in Lorraine, in the small town of Hettange-Grande (around thirty kilometers from Metz, but also the borders of Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany), he made his first artistic statements outside in nature, painting very eighties patterns (confettis and party streamers) on the military bunkers surrounding the area. Very quickly, his practice of graffiti enriched itself with influences from graphic design, until it finally totally free itself from these disciplines.
His color gradations pieces — the Spontaneous series — illustrate this evolution : vast chromatic landscapes spray-painted on paper, between photographic emulsion and vectorized images. The landscape — and the ballads brings out — is one of the recurrent themes of his production. In February 2011, he proposed, as curator, the exhibition A new idea of landscape where he presented several artists of his generation that he claims as direct influences, both for their work and for the way they proceed. Among them are American artist Israel Lund and Italian artist Renato Leotta. Artistic friendships often begins via exchanges on the internet.
Far from being insignificant, Internet is a key element in the understanding of Samuel François’s world. In the service of his artistic acuteness, websites teem with images waiting to be revealed, added, duplicated or refocused. Thus, in October 2011, he presented No I’m waiting for…, a huge neon produced on the occasion of Nuit Blanche, as the promise of a work to come.