16 October 2018 - 9 January 2019
ARTIST : Christian Lhopital
Curator: Jean-Hubert Martin
There are works that jump out at you, that almost assault the viewer, when the colours burst out like grenades, and then there are those that are more discreet, that make less noise and into which one penetrates, discovering little by little a troubled and unknown world, at the risk of losing oneself in it, or at least of coming out of it with more worries than certainties. Christian Lhopital's drawings belong to the latter group.
At least that is the category into which he has tended to be placed, which is partially contradicted by this exhibition in which the drawings are spread out over the walls and the space, thereby assaulting the viewer. The graphite imposes a dominant black and white colour that refers to the origins of cave painting. While the artist excels in small format, he has long since demonstrated his ability to invade large surfaces and conjure up a world teeming with improbable creatures from beyond. The use of colour is no stranger to him either, but for the moment he has reserved it for the sheet of paper, with a predilection for rare but no less striking colours.
The dreams and fantasies he portrays could do without description. The beings he gives birth to are often so nebulous and ghostly that one is afraid to give them names. Naming these ghosts risks making them disappear. Any definition will freeze them in a form that is only transitory. These spirits are ephemeral and what the eye captures is only a snapshot of an incessant flow of appearances and disappearances. Mirages, resurrections, accidents and falls are part of the movement of life, however dreamlike, pointing to the fragility of beings. Children are legion, rarely for the innocent beauty it is fashionable to attribute to them, but more as hydrocephalic, monstrous offspring seeking revenge on vague adults. The beauties disintegrate, the bodies are emptied and reach a state of fusion that reduces them to the original magma.
Excerpt from the text La danse des enfantômes
Jean Hubert Martin
Curator of the exhibition
THE ARTIST/CURATOR DUO
Christian Lhopital was born in Lyon where he lives and works. After graduating from ENBA in 1976, drawing imposed itself on him through its light and nomadic practice, a sheet of paper and a biro.
In 1982, he began making very large drawings on paper mounted on canvas, exhibited at the MAC Lyon in 1985. From 1991, he covered his large drawings with washes of Indian ink and gesso, the Recouvrements. In 1998, he began with Broken shadows the first series of drawings with repeated pattern, "cinematics", which will be exhibited at the Casino Luxembourg. In 1999, he created his first sculpture/assemblage with stuffed animals dipped in white paint installed in front of his first wall drawing with graphite powder. In 2012, he created a wall drawing on removable panels for the MAC of Lyon, L'énigme demeure UNLMTD. This spring, at the GMoMa in Ansan, South Korea, he is creating his 20th 6mx30m mural drawing A kind of mind.
Jean-Hubert Martin was director of the Kunsthalle Bern, the Musée d'art moderne Centre Pompidou, the Musée des arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, Paris and the Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf. He directed the artistic programs of the Château d'Oiron and the PAC, Milan. His interest in non-Western cultures has led him to design open-ended exhibitions by confronting works of a heterogeneous nature and thus to promote a renewal of the gaze. He has curated numerous biennials and major exhibitions: Paris - Berlin (1978), Paris - Moscow (1979), Magiciens de la terre (1989), Carambolages (2016).