Francis Baudevin — Patterns in sound



Francis Baudevin
Patterns in sound

Past: September 12 → October 19, 2013

For his third personal exhibition at Art : Concept, Francis Baudevin has recalled an episode of “the Avengers” called The House that Jack Built (Diabolical Heritage in its French translation). The script iquite unusual for that series starts with Emma Peel going to a country mansion that she has just inherited from an unknown uncle. She quickly realizes that the house has some extremely deranging features and that she is being held prisoner by it. The trap has been set by an automation engineer; a man that Emma had fired when taking over her father’s business many years before. By devising this computer-driven diabolical house before dying, the engineer’s wish was to drive Emma Peel out of her mind… At first sight, it is hard to find a stylistic unity between an episode of this crime-drama-series dating back from 1966 and Francis Baudevin’s graphical paintings. However, the weird scenario of psychedelic and psycho aesthetics strangely relates to the work of the Swiss artist, who has, during the years, made features such as pattern-simplification and graphical repetition. His extensive and detailed knowledge of musical rarities; and of the “cult” imagery that they foster constantly act as stimuli on his work.

In The House that Jack Built, Emma Peel finds herself trapped by a house from which she cannot escape. The computer that controls all the rooms and their access broadcasts some insistent and obsessive music that reminds us of a heartbeat. She tries to make her way through a hallucinatory and maze-like universe with floors and walls covered with an overall set of geometric patterns. Particular attention and care must have been paid by the film-director to details and meticulous researches; starting from the location scouting (the outdoor scenes were shot on the premises of a former psychiatric hospital), to the sets and pattern-creation. The atmosphere is dense and heavy; gradually trapping the spectator in a complex universe. The importance of patterns, their provenance as well as their repetitiveness finds an echo in Baudevin’s work. Drifting away from his previous work on logotypes and brands and their almost immediate and literal significance, his latest work; although still issued from the universe of graphics and painted with the same meticulousness as ever, tends to be more oriented towards pop culture. He gives patterns a more complex significance, anchoring them to a framework of extremely dense and manifold connections and identification processes, akin to the scheme that he had devised for his work on photographs of record-covers. Modern society has engendered countless sub cultural groups. Whether affiliated to music trends or to independent labels, television series or simply new social casts, all these groups have precise codes and an iconography often issued from a pre-existing body of work. When used by a group, an image may not bear the same significance as when it is used by another group, thus multiplying possibilities of interpretation.

For instance this exhibition’s title: Patterns in Sound, is based on a vinyl compilation of classical music, the sleeve-cover of which could be attributed to Josef Albers. On the back of the original cover, a text by the record label “Enoch Light” resumes the idea of melting pot and blending of influences and epochs: “This record isn’t just a compilation of ancient music, but rather a house of which each window opens upon a world that belongs to the past. These “sound samples” are different components involved in the manufacturing of human history.” Different melodies won’t have the same meaning according to the people who listen to them. They won’t tell the same story. As Josef Albers explained in his 1963 book called The Interaction of Color: “No normal eye, even a very trained one is immune to illusions of color. Who claims to see colors independent of their illusionary changes fools only himself, and no one else”(1). Albers establishes a sort of color relativity where red isn’t merely the symbol of passion and green not just the emblem of hope and ecology… A common trait with Baudevin’s work, who follows the same postulate. On his canvases, a stripe or color motif will be interpreted differently by the spectator’s eye according to the background color, and some shapes will not even reveal themselves until the eye has become accustomed to the canvas. Only an intensive observation will allow people to see a pattern that remains invisible at first glance.

It’s all about color, interpretation, repetition of image and final positioning according to who you are and where you are, both in society and in your mind. With his abstract and colorful paintings, Francis Baudevin proposes a range of possible visions. As in the aforementioned societal structures; your vision will be both collective and personal: re-creating a moment in time or a specific atmosphere just like a song or a musical piece would. Francis Baudevin’s art assumes the sensitivity and subtleties of music thanks to rhythm, movement and the graphical-painterly iterations that his paintings reveal. Just like Emma Peel, when she is trapped and observed by a machine-house and has to find the right pushbutton to set herself free; the spectator is prompted to cross the repetitive visual labyrinth of the artist’s work and find freedom through an interpretation based on his own personal references.

A.B // Translation Frieda Schumann
  • Opening Thursday, September 12, 2013 6 PM → 9 PM
03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

4 passage Sainte-Avoye

75003 Paris

T. 01 53 60 90 30 — F. 01 53 60 90 31


Opening hours

Tuesday – Friday, 10 AM – 6 PM
Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM

The artist