Julien Guibreteau, aka « Julien-G», is an emerging french artist, whom questions the heritage of 20th century abstractions, surrealism and pop art all together. His artwork associates unlikely matching patterns in humorous combinations which open up meaningful potentialities
When I look back in my own story, I was unlikely to become an artist. From a working class family my access to creation started with comics. I drew and wrote comics all the time when I was a teenager. This somehow left deep traces in my mindset. Then after a curriculum in applied art in high school I end up a bit by “chance” in an art school. This was a very contrasted moment in my life, full of discoveries, controversies, and a big reaction to this institution mostly supporting conceptual art. In that academic setting I did my first act of resistance: practice painting...
Modernism and tradition
20th century artists expended visual vocabulary in a tremendous manner, this was an explosion of creativity. Academism was to be thrown down and novelty became the essential value in western art. One movement reacting to its predecessor.
As a trained artist and I was confronted with traditions (modern as well as classic), and whether I like it or not, references to Pop Art, Surrealism, early Abstract Art, post war Abstract Art, Comics, Movies, etc. reflect in my work. These are now a globalized art culture, worldwide formal vocabularies that can be used in new manners, with different goals.
Pop culture and archetypes
King Kong, Rembrandt, Angels, Astronauts, One Dollar bills, Banana skins, etc. are some sorts of contemporary archetypes from pop culture to me. My major interest in using those patterns is their potential to convey meanings that “common” people can figure out. But my use of them is purposely twisted by combining them in an unexpected way creating new potential meanings.
Visual arts and Discourse
As Marcel Duchamp put it: the artistic potential of an artwork is to create interpretations and make people talk. Cultural relativism is everywhere, One can do whatever, one just has to produce the discourse to sell it! Discourses killed visual arts somehow. Even Jean Dubuffet had to create the concept of Art Brut and asphyxiating culture to make his art acceptable. I'm reluctant to confine my search into words (even though they have they play their part), because I don't want to inhibit the creativity and intelligence of the viewer. Decoding a work of art is part or the enjoyment of art appreciation . Of course I put meanings in my artwork but those are superficial meanings, they are like a key to enter the door to a deeper signification, which is probably out of words. At least is it what I intend to create.
Sense or Non sense
My first aesthetic shocks as a kid were Tex Avery cartoons and later the Monty Pythons, they all came somehow from Dada and Surrealism that I found out later as a student. I guess my mindset drew me to this kind of nonsense humor as a reaction to my personal story as well as a way to create modern vanities. All artistic creation has an ego based origin, whether we like it or not and there's vanity in any artistic undertaking... But apparent absurdity in my work is balanced by a sense of spirituality in life as a creative experience.
Time and Process
I deliberately use “obsolete” techniques such as wood printing and low-tech ways of working (stencils, self made tools, etc.). It's a political and economical position to me, based on a will of independence. But it is also an aesthetic choice. Indeed, as a mean to an end or as an end in itself, process is a major matter in my work. It helps me to synthesize representation, create a specific pictorial space.
It is meant to be seen and is probably what means the most. I deliberately confront or rather superimpose different techniques and times of conception. Slowness and rapidity coexist in the work as a metaphor of creation which is slow gestation and striking evidence.
Categories: Assemblage / Collage