31 March 2023 -
17 June 2023
Born in 1946 in Uchaud in the Gard region of France, Jean-Pierre Formica now lives and works between Arles et Paris. He studied at the Schools of Fine Art in Paris and Montpellier, before becoming a teacher of visual arts at the National School of Architecture in Paris .
In this monographic exhibition, a series of new works - Papers Revealed - sit alongside the vast, multicoloured canvases of the 80s and 90s in a retrospective that covers a career spanning nearly half a century.
In his late teens growing up near Nimes, Jean-Pierre Formica found work as a decorator. Stripped bare of years of accumulated layers, the walls he was about to paint became a tempting canvas. He recalls how he used to draw on them before the painting work would begin.
Today, this process has become his most recent artistic one: giant canvases reminiscent of those immense walls are painted front and back, layered one upon the other before he begins the excavation process of rediscovering what lies behind the uppermost layer. Monumental works that can appear abstract or figurative, depending on the vantage point, result from a creative process that appears to borrow as much from sculpture and linocut as from painting. From the folds and the furrows come colour, volume and texture. From the fragments emerges a whole: fields of sunflowers, an inky blue night sky over Arles, a shimmering Montagne Sainte Victoire.
Depictions of the South loom large in Formica’s work. His culture and memory (both collective and individual) are Mediterranean. Early works focus on the symbolism of the Camargue and its adjacent Mythology. Bulls, capes, gods and horses are repeated ad infinitum in a method that sees them become pattern as well as figurative form. Later, the salt of Aigues-Mortes enrobes an army of figures. The holy trinity of all Mediterranean life - sun, salt and water – is here. So too the first hints that Formica sees his work through an archeological lens.
The different layers of this exhibition help us to walk a path from epoch to epoch, style to style, series to series, culminating in a selection of quotidian drawings with which he fills his notebooks and of late, his Instagram account. Resolutely modern, he warns us against any attempt to categorise his work:
« I've never been afraid of ruptures as they allow you to add something completely new to your work. I would even go so far as to say that I seek out artistic confrontation. My whole life has been a series of new beginnings. Establishing new principles and providing a new way of seeing the world is the role of the artist. »
Cette exposition est ouverte du mercredi au samedi, de midi à 18h. Pour plus d'informations veuillez contacter : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tarif plein : 6 €
Tarif réduit : 4 € (étudiants, demandeurs d'emploi, personnes handicapées et membres)
Gratuité : porteurs de la carte ICOM, du City Pass Aix-en-Provence ainsi que Pass My Provence et les enfants de moins de 12 ans