Galerie Nathalie Obadia is delighted to give carte blanche to the young French artist Corentin Canesson in the Espace II of the Cloître Saint-Merri gallery. This exhibition is part of our ongoing approach started in 2011 to give exposure to emerging artists’ project in this showroom, next to the main exhibition space.
Painter, curator and guitarist for The Night He Came Home band, Corentin Canesson studied in École Européenne Supérieure d’Art de Bretagne and in HGB in Leipzig. This exhibition is set less than a year after the one at Crédac, upon the invitation of Claire Le Restif. This remarkable event showed a group of fifteen paintings with a soundtrack provided by his band and inspired by his friendships (most notably with François Lancien Guilberteau and Damien Le Dévedec). Galerie Nathalie Obadia first noticed Corentin Canesson’s work during the collective exhibition Peindre comme je bouge which took place at Les Abattoirs de Toulouse, in June 2017. The artist showed there some painted vinyls, recently bought by the museum.
Through his painting style at the crossroad between several artistic influences, among them the evocative luminous colorful abstraction of Joan Mitchel, the comic-inspired figurative universe of Philip Guton, the texture work of Eugène Leroy or the cut compositions of Bram Van Velde, Corentin Canesson has been building for several years now a work oscillating between figuration and abstraction, led by the pleasure of the pictorial act which is not incompatible with his own serial protocol rigor.
Including three different series of recent works, BOTTOM contains references to music and literature, both disciplines which infuse all the artist’s work. Its title refers to Robert Wyatt’s cult album “Rock Bottom” and one of Rimbaud’s poem from the Illuminations, “Bottom” opening with a bird sighting.
«Reality being too thorny for my great personality—I found myself nonetheless, at my lady’s, as a large blue-grey bird soaring towards the ceiling mouldings or trailing my wing in the shadows of evening.» The opening sentence in this Rimbaud’s poem relates to a series of bird paintings started by Corentin Canesson in 2014, when, without a studio and any exhibition perspective, he decided to realize each month a bird portrait on a one-meter square canvas, in his tiny living room. Living with these creatures half-pet, half-wild animals which become mirrorlike, the artist explores the visual impact of this pattern in which the anthropomorphic dimension creates an immediate empathy. Like in the lithographs made by the American ornithologist Jean-Jacques Audubon, Corentin Canesson’s birds are retrained by the canvas and twist their body, being a metaphor for contemporary painting’s restrictions. They also serve a playful exploration of painting techniques (spherical occupation of the canvas, texture exploration of the wings, the feathers...). Six of this series most recent paintings will be shown at the gallery.
The second series displayed, more abstract, set Corentin Canesson’s work in a kind of historical expressionism in which the pictorial movement primes, leaving large areas empty or on the opposite a saturation of irregular lines, an accumulation of small touches or of larger flat tints where the juxtaposition creates particular color vibrations. The exhibition shows also several small format paintings, erotic compositions and badinage scenes where the subjects tend to disappear behind the accumulation of pictorial matter.
Included in almost each of these series, text occupies a central part in Corentin Canesson’s work and makes reference to universes as diverse as cinema (the artist quotes Jean-Luc Godard), advertising, pop-rock culture through bands like Sparklehouse or references to record covers, comics.... When not related to a precise pattern, these fantasy scriptures can also become the birthing place of lines and colors spreading over the canvas.
For this exhibition, Corentin Canesson explored the archives of the gallery to paint over 500 opening invitation cards and created a poster of which a hundred copies were spread in Paris’ streets. This artistic appropriation of the objects related to the exhibition, in a viral approach of creative proliferation, is one of the artist’s habits: the different editions he creates around each of his main projects act like a free anticipation or a polymorphic prolongation of his pictorial work. Every new project is also the occasion to have intellectual and literary meetings. The exhibition at the gallery will thus lead to a written correspondence with the young writer Victor Pouchet (Pourquoi les oiseaux meurent Ed.Finitudes, Sept. 2017), that will be revealed to the public.