En Plein Chic: Louis Granet

Press release

Cuturi Gallery is pleased to present En Plein Chic, a solo exhibition by Louis Granet (b.1991, France). Alongside his prominent flower paintings, Granet will be showcasing a new series of paintings that draw specific references to Asian popular culture. En Plein Chic marks the first solo exhibition of the French artist in the region.

 

Following his graduation from the School of Fine Arts in Bordeaux, Granet attended the School of Comic Illustrations in the southwestern French town of Angoulême, and later, the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg. Throughout his studies, Granet was always intrigued by the artistic potentialities of translating the fundamentals of comic illustration unto the canvas, beyond the structural restraints of a comic strip. This interest was further cemented upon Granet’s arrival in Paris, where he worked as the assistant of French artist Stéphane Calais, leading him to pursue a professional career as a full-time artist. Granet has since staged solo and group exhibitions in Paris, New York, and Luxembourg, among others. His work is also in esteemed collections such as Fondation Hubert Neumann, Fondation d'art contemporain, Société Générale and Les Arts au mur, arthothèque de Pessac.

 

Granet begins his artistic process by spontaneously capturing the visual iconography that bombard us in our everyday life with his camera. Such tendencies bear witness to the artist’s personal trove of photographs, ranging from interesting street signs to popular caricatures found on cereal boxes. Accordingly, Granet works through this collective imagery of contemporary life and globalized visual culture to inform and drive his artistic approach and subject matter in his paintings.

 

Drawing on the lineages of modern and post-modern art movements such as Pop Art and Neo-Pop Art, Granet captures the absurdity and abstraction of our visual realities in detail. Resembling the stylization of comic illustrations, the artist goes on to create digital renderings of his paintings before working on them. In playing with scale and perception, Granet moves beyond the mere reproduction and appropriation of comic illustration to foreground our contemporary realities in a discerning manner. Such includes stretching ordinary objects to be larger than life, precariously on the edge of spilling out from the canvas frame. In addition to unequally splitting his paintings into two, as though simulating the cross-section of a comic strip. Working with acrylic, Granet’s paintings carry a visual dynamism that manifest a sense of organized chaos, with each element decisively placed and staged within the canvas to form a certain narrative about our contemporary realities.

 

For En Plein Chic, Granet will be presenting a new series of paintings that focus on Asian popular culture. This selection of paintings features iconic characters from Japanese manga and anime series, such as Astro Boy, Hello Kitty and Doraemon. In addition to packets of instant ramen noodles and confectionary commonly found in convenience stores or supermarkets within the region. By incorporating these popular references into his paintings, Granet plays on the recognisability of these cultural products and commodities as a commentary on our global consumer and visual culture. In Summer Plane, Super Plan (2020), Granet highlights the character of Astro Boy, which has since built one of the most successful manga and anime franchises, seeping into popular imagination. Painted with one of his arms outstretched, the character appears to invite the viewer into his futuristic world full of action and imagination, yet one equally tinged with nostalgia. Such is juxtaposed against a seemingly disconnected scene of a convenience mart shelf, stocked with Hello Kitty stickers and Doraemon-inspired snacks, suggesting an underlying conversation about what our present global consumerist culture holds towards the future. While these overcrowded scenes reverberate with a sense of vitality and urgency, they demand the viewer to pause and contemplate the multiplicities present within the dynamic composition of the various elements from different perspectives.

 

Granet will also be exhibiting his series of flower paintings, which see the aggregation of flowers in an overload of saturated colours proliferated across the canvas. By enmeshing flowers originating from disparate geographical regions, ranging from the islands of the Caribbean to the major cities of Italy within an individual canvas, Granet demonstrates his artistic propensity for embracing multiplicity. Such is equally matched with the diversity of colours infused into the dense mass of flowers, enriching the painting with a sense of abundance. These clusters of flowers appear to mutate organically and permeate the frame, augmenting the chaotic atmosphere of our fast-moving contemporary world, albeit through the alternative lens of nature.

 

Through his exuberant compositions, Granet plays on the appetite of the viewer for narrative, compelling him or her to navigate the entanglements between the various elements.

 

By bringing these two bodies of works together, En Plein Chic provides us with openings to imagine and reflect on such convergences and possibilities in traversing our contemporary world. En Plein Chic mirrors the zeitgeist of our times, embodying a visual cacophony that captures and amplifies the sights and sounds belonging to our contemporary realities. 

 

Louis Granet: En Plein Chic will be on view at Cuturi Gallery from December 5th  2020 to January 3rd 2021.

 

Exhibition Catalogue

Installation Views
Works