Exhibition catalogue, St. Neutralité, Galerie Templon, Paris (France), 2011
Text by Richard Leydier (English and French)
Editions Galerie Templon, 2011
Soft cover, 29 x 24,5 cm
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Following a two-year absence from the world of gallery exhibitions, Berlin artist Jonathan Meese has chosen Paris as the venue for his reappearance.
Often described as the enfant terrible of the Berlin art scene, Jonathan Meese is now 40 — and as turbulent as ever. He is displaying his work at the two Galerie Templon spaces, with a group of recent paintings exhibited at the Rue Beaubourg venue and, opposite, an installation of sculptures at Impasse Beaubourg.
The new paintings are the fruit of a new phase in his exploration of the medium. The rich and diverse paintings overflow with collages, slogans and graffiti, producing an effect somewhere between humour and violence. The artist orchestrates a collision between impastos and varnish, furious brush strokes and delicate lines. And thus captures “History, both small and great” (Jean-Charles Vergne).
The sculpture installation offers an amused evocation of ten years of sculptural practice, featuring mini-installations, figurines and primitive and futuristic bronze busts. This retrospective approach echoes the major exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami that will be opening on 1 December 2010: Jonathan Meese: Sculpture, curated by Bonnie Clearwater. By bringing the sculptures together, they can not only “talk among themselves” — as the artist dreams of them doing — but also share their judgment of the paintings: “The sculptures have to be satisfied,” warns Jonathan Meese.
Born in 1970 in Tokyo, Jonathan Meese is a German artist who lives in Berlin. He has developed an uncategorizable body of work, lying somewhere between expressionism and actionism, combining painting, sculpture, installations and performance. His personal mythology is a blend of historical, legendary and science fiction references, evoking figures as varied as Fantômas, Maldoror and Stalin, all of whom represent different facets of the artist’s identity. His work espouses the ‘dictatorship of art’.