For his sixth exhibition at Galerie Chantal Crousel, Jean-Luc Moulène takes us through a sculptural landscape where abstraction manifests itself as a force of thought and imagination, intertwined with still, bold figuration on a ritualized stage.

Montagne pourpre (2019), an abstract object, is put up upon its base, in the center of the exhibition. The fruit of 3D modeling turned out on machine-tools, this impressive hard-foam sculpture is a surface with body. Designed by the artist as a three-dimensional monochrome, the colored abstraction stands among a new ensemble of hand-crafted concrete sculptures entitled Implicites (2020). Grouped around Montagne pourpre and back against the wall, they watch from afar but, observers, the Implicites witness and observe their own interiority. Resulting from the same production protocol as the Tronches series (2014-2017), they are filled shapes, either full latex or silicone bodies, inflatable dolls, which the artist turned inside out, poured concrete into and reinforced with threaded shaft, a part that is often visible at the end of the process. Once dry, the synthetic material is removed and the concrete is waxed or covered with epoxy resin. Implicites are thus reversed, inverted and interiorized—effigies with distorted faces and bodies. The bodies’ shapes and attributes burst out from their own erasing by the act of filling. The artist’s labor is a way to distort and to dismantle the pornography originally inhabiting the models.

Then, a totem-like bronze sculpture, Pyramid’os (2020), is presented on a pedestal. Here, the long bones of the human body both form the edges of a pyramid and delineate its surfaces, or rather absence of surface as its core remains empty. The joints, the articulations, become the peaks and cornerstones. Pyramid’os shares quarters with a portrait sketch (Tronche, 2020) and various other objects including one small-scale Implicite (Redux Implicite, 2020) also presented back against the wall, opposite and eye-level with the pyramid.

Lastly, three sculptures are displayed, two of which are large-scale abstractions placed on tables. Reiterating the formal issues raised by Montagne pourpre, Montagne blanche (2020) has a ‘quelconque’ abstract shape, a large white monochrome still with traces of oil painting on its surface, each trace linking straight back to the visible gestures of the artist painting on canvas. Nature Morte (2020), a variation of these abstract shapes, is a relief painting too, a volume this time with realistic, non-covert parts, bones and stones.

The two abstractions rub shoulders with one last sculpture positioned on a wooden beam, Yeux bleus (2020). From the observer viewpoint, this is an object composed of two stones found and glued together by epoxy paste. Spread over the top are hundreds of nazar boncukları—small, traditional, Turkish glass amulets designed to protect against the evil eye—tipping the wink one could say at the ‘quelconque’ abstraction shown at the 2019 Venice Biennale (Pale blue Eyes, 2019)—which seem to proliferate and look around, eyeing as much the sculptures as the visitors.



Jean-Luc Moulène
Implicites & Objets
Chantal Crousel
until November 28, 2020

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