EXHIBITION FROM JUNE 10th until JULY 30th 2016
Gilbert1 was born in Epinal in 1980. He has exhibited and painted in Paris, Lyon, St Etienne, Marseilles, Stuttgart, Rome, Barcelona, New York, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Francisco or even Berlin. He now lives in Nancy (54).
Coming from the graffiti scene (which he started in the early 2000s), he rolls out his art from wall to web, from photography to installations, from sculpture to painting. This remarkable, multidisciplinary self-taught artist has found how to go beyond reality that affects him and a society he cannot understand, by using all tools and mastering all techniques. His fragile looking works depict the torments inside, while his source materials betray their violence. Yet his vivid colours convey hope.
While all seems to be chaos, Gilbert1 meticulously rebuilds, repaints and fixes matter and materials. He reinvents and uses the objects that riddle his quest, while colouring, installing and positioning them. He turns them into frail sculptures, monumental paintings or obvious installations (like that produced in 2012 for the Bains Douche artistic residence in Paris).
He claims to be in love with Mathieu’s gestures and influenced by the work of Miro, Tapies and Picasso. He is a child of Raw Art, attached to “graffuturism”, Gaudi’s architecture and the works of Georges Rousse. Yet Gilbert1 is above all inspired by the places he visits (where he still paints and holds artistic residence) and by the history that marks the man and his time. By the architecture he explores and the streets he contemplates. He turns his colours into a tool. He does not fill in or hide, he reveals. Keenly attached to the real-life experience of his finds, he extracts their essence, diverts their meaning and gives them new life.
The Out of Control exhibition unveils part of his world around eight works on paper and fifteen assemblies/sculptures.
Carton, wood and paper form the framework for his works in volume. Manuscripts, scrap metal, colours and transparencies give them resonance. He aptly uses each element. He extracts the qualities and defines a harmony from them. He preserves its real-life experience. So the nail is still rusty, the leaf curled, the stick broken, the colour preserved. But he sticks back together, juxtaposes and reassembles them with talent. Extremely meticulous, he positions each piece in his perfect domino, determines its point of leakage and seeks the impending rupture in it. Yet avoided, thwarted, misled, it reveals a work placed in an impressive equilibrium.
It is probaby this mastery that we find so touching in Gilbert1’s sculptures. In the minuscule pieces of souls they carry that he has successfully preserved. In his ingenuity in combining them. In the warmth they emit, their natural or cleverly arranged colours. And whereas they look so fragile to us, composed equally of blank and filled spaces, as if made of nothing, when they leave his hands they transform the chaos into magnificent harmony.
Transposed on the flat surface of a clear Perspex display case, they only seem more precious. When hung they appear impertinent and overturn the nobility (now archaic) of a traditional painting. They become the temple of remnants when positioned.
His drawings composed of black and white are all delicacy and meticulousness. Inherited from his calligraphy, he draws confidently and precisely. His love of base materials stems from his silk-screen work. A flow, an undulation and a sense of reading comes from the graffiti. He plays with ambivalences: A sketched line counters the pointillism of a jet of spray. To a curve, its diagonal. To the black, its white. So he throws, portrays, produces in a few lines his bright, leaping, powerful and controlled movement.
“He who masters the line, will achieve perfection in each of his arts” said the Italian painter and architect Vasari (1511-1574). Who better than Gilbert1 to be his disciple?
Gilbert1 builds as much as he paints. Harmonizes as much as he reveals. Juxtaposes as much as he deconstructs. Experiments continually, making a perpetual quest personal. Puts his slightest skill to the test again, in every gesture. His work is all the more sensitive and touching for this. His talent is obvious. He transports and questions us. He shocks us, but never with any aggressiveness and without ever imposing himself.
I will forever remember the very first sculpture of his I saw at a fashionable dinner party, drawn from an austere chest. Aerial, inhuman, fragile, tangible, rectilinear, gentle, sensitive, touching. Yet it was never mine. But no work is more magnificent than the one that haunts our memories, forever stamped on our retina. It just makes it even more intimate.