Six years after his last major solo show at POW, French artist dran comes back to the scene with a comprehensive solo exhibition ‘Tiens’ curated by Adda Gallery in Brussels.
‘Tiens’ presents an ‘ABCD’aire’, an A to Z series of canvases illustrating anecdotes, popular expressions and tales,as well as drawings, earlier artworks on cardboard , hand finished prints and a new book. We can see the evolution of dran’s mood from the past two years throughout his paintings.
In the entrance large monochrome free-hand paintings remind us of his installation at Palais de Tokyo in 2014. A wink to his 2015 London performance ‘Public Execution’ (covered) is shown with the maid sweeping all the questions, and ‘Execution‘ featuring a painter being shot by red dots.
Apart from a few grey tones canvasses, dran sets the tone with ‘Tiens’ featuring a depressed arlequin sitting down approached by a little girl who gives him a coloured card to inspire him and cheer him up.
The ABCd’Air series starts with a breadth of fresh air (bol d’air), with a cloud having breakfast. Many of the depicted characters are happy, screaming with joy and open arms in the air from ‘aaaa‘, a little boy standing on his bed, a cry from the heart, a little girl smiling under a shower of coloured paint to the series of 88 hand finished prints.
Topics include the everyday life: addiction to social media, education, house hunting, environment issues with ‘La Semeuse’, French traditional symbol, seen polluting by throwing away batteries, love (X croisement), trust (Pont)…
Animals have anthropomorphic features. A lion puts some make up, lipstick and glitter to disguise as a zebra. ‘Faire le zebre’ means ‘fool around / put up a show’. The world is upside down, when a bear contemplates his profits selling his own skin, while a rabbit is taking revenge on hunters on the run.
In ‘Urgent’ a grim reaper is laughing out loud (Mort de rire) while ‘Graffiti’ plays on the art of buffing and the various shades of grey. ‘Toile’ may come as a surprise but it is a witty trompe l’oeil featuring the back of a canvas with the signature of Elmyr, an hommage to the infamous forger Elmyr de Hory, who forged over 1000 canvasses from Matisse to Picasso and are exhibited in museums worldwide and still not identified. While Elmyr was imprisoned and committed suicide in 1976, no one knows his real painting style.
A second room presents earlier works, drawings, artworks on cardboard as well as 88 hand finished prints. The Thinker is wrapped with fragile tape. A large scale canvas ‘Ciao’ featuring a mouse leaving a big boat sounds premonitory of the current Brexit situation. Last but not least, energetic characters like a little ballerina full of colours thank the audience.
View the full set of pics here
Until 10 July 2016
51 Rue de la Madeleine