One is French, the other American. This one lives in Paris, and that one in Los Angeles. While both are very fond of drawing, and are always prompt to cover entire pages from sketchbooks or whole sheets of paper, their work is to be seen in light of a polymorphic plastic production developing both in size and volume. Pierre Seinturier (born in 1988) and Adam Janes (born in 1976), although sharing the same interest for a certain figurative and narrative iconography, draw their inspiration from different sources - in cinema and the print image for Seinturier, in popular culture for Janes, while still showing a common taste for art history.
Despite their twelve years of difference, their practice makes them relate to the same generation, especially in the way they accumulate images and signs, in their tendency to stage their works, and the freedom with which they allow themselves to test the viewer’s gaze with all sorts of experiments. Despite their twelve years of difference, their practice makes them relate to the same generation, especially in the way they accumulate images and signs, in their tendency to stage their works, and the freedom with which they allow themselves to test the viewer’s gaze with all sorts of experiments. For it is always the up-front work of any expression, for its spectrum is wide ranging, for it is simultaneously the link and binder of all the other modes of visual expression.
Pierre Seinturier and Adam Janes’ exhibition is a true demonstration of this, as their respective presentation in the shape of an installation attempts to set the terms of a quasi total work of art. Established under the form of an itinerary, highly structured by each work, the exhibition invites the viewer to discover two different worlds that lead, in their own way, towards off-beat territories, full of reminiscences, of references, and more or less familiar figures. It implies an experience of both sensible and mental immersion into each artist’s imaginary, an immersion that proves intriguing, fascinating, but also disturbing, and which, in any case, does not leave us unharmed.
Pierre Seinturier’s work is characterised by narration and suspense. The scenes he imagines stage situations founded on a culture of the enigma, for they are inscribed neither in a «before» nor an «after» of any continuum. They show a moment stopped in time, the way we would pause a film to isolate a scene from its context in order to discover and be surprised by its singularity.
Taken from an entire world of fixed or animated images - films, comic books, postcards, varied and diverse publications... - Seinturier’s works also portray his daily life, his obsessions, and his fantasy visions, in particular the United States which he has seldom visited. He imagines an entire theatre for his fantasy memory, creating stories, staging them in landscapes mired with a tense atmosphere, animating them with characters, about whom the uncertainty remains, whether they be fictitious or not, and what their identity may be. The way he inhabits space by staging it on different planes allows him to play with trompe - l’œil effects and with a visual maze which force the viewer into an active, curious, and even nosy stroll.
In fact, Pierre Seinturier’s entire efforts aim at multiplying viewpoints in order to escape bi-dimensionality, and plastic experiences in order to mix reality and fiction even more. To that extent, his art is almost a kind of fable aesthetics.
Adam Janes gives a prominent place to the joined practice of collage and assemblage. This exercise is developed throughout the creation of his works, which range from plane to volume, and resemble icons belonging to a marginal culture.
In fact, his art proceeds by combining elements borrowed from different popular cultures and from wide ranging classical references. There is something very peculiar and playful at work in his oeuvre, in the way he uses a vocabulary of form and rudimentary signs immediately accessible for the viewer and mixing all kinds of techniques and formats.
The artist takes great pleasure in building incongruous objects and improbable machines, in which motifs play on the intertwining between unbridled imaginary and autobiographical references. Adam Janes excels in orchestrating the collusion between figuration and abstraction, and in immersing an entire world of often funny characters in the flux of his images or in the construction of his sculptures. His works take the shape of a palimpsest, with no way to decipher it, and we find ourselves facing them, like explorers. Articulated around the idea of Memory Song, the apparatus he created for this exhibition also partakes in pulling us through an unpredictable memory maze.
Here and there, Pierre Seinturier and Adam Janes offer to take us on a journey at the very heart of their imaged world. Adventure, expedition, introspection...
Text by Philippe Piguet