November 9, 3 – 7 pm Vernissage (Invite Only)
November 10, 4 – 8 pm Opening Reception
November 11, 11 – 7 pm Public Day
November 15, 4 – 8 pm (Invite Only)
November 16, 11 – 7 pm Public Day
November 17, 11 – 7 pm Public Day
Vincent Bizien was born in April of 1968, in Montargis, France.
Currently, he is an art instructor at the prestigious Beaux Art Academy in Paris, France where he also resides. He graduated from ENSBA* in 1992, also located in Paris.
When I pick up my drawing tools or brushes, an incredible multitude of beings and creatures parades amongst all the thoughts that occupy my mind. The time of drawing is the time of their recognition, of their identification. Evidently, some of them at times have little resemblance to what we define as belonging to the human race. Yet, they are there, seeking a haven to end their wandering. The surface of a piece of paper or canvas becomes this singular enclave where I can outline the contours of their repose, but above all, the thought of their presence.
I owe it to them to appear unfailingly, and I am grateful for what they give me because they come with an emotional amplitude and its intensity is the best remedy for melancholy. Nevertheless, they have nothing reassuring about them as their hybrid nature defies conventions. They have no age, their gender is uncertain. They are the direct descendants of a character that appeared in the iconography of my earlier work : Mister Nobody. Whether they come from lived or fantasized memories, from the brevity of a chance encounter on the streets, an everyday human, whether they appear as specters, ghosts, zombies, angels, seers, fools, or shamans, drawn from the incessant flow of images in the world and in history, from these beings on the brink of themselves, I am primarily devoted to rendering the figurative presence of their portrait.
The task at hand is not merely a testament to how they come to haunt me, nor is it a trace of their passage. It is not merely the materialized transcription of a wandering and the functioning of my thoughts. Rather, it is, much like ex-votos, a way of giving thanks for their appearance. I cherish them with their burdensome existence, their perfect chaos, and their radiant silence. Creating their portraits and being concern about their figures is not straightforward; often, it seems nearly impossible. These figures often teeter on the brink, ready to burst into flames in a ridiculous grimace. However, in this long-term endeavor undertaken over years, the aim is not to make an inventory of the possibilities of representation, nor to disfigure in a playful manipulation of words, or cynically exhume the vanity of life. Painting and drawing are alive and distinctly perceived as tools for analyzing an activity that requires putting oneself at the level of an emotional seismic transcriber. But, of course, in the present case, it also involves confronting the history of painting, particularly the genre of portraiture.
From the portrait of the Annunciation Virgin painted by Antonello de Messine between 1474 and 1476, through the flamboyant self-portraits of Rembrandt, the passionate painting of Frans Halls, the disparate figures of Goya, to the women whose pain at being forsaken contorts them in Picasso’s works, from the scarred faces of Otto Dix’s History to Guston’s impassive smokers, painting is an act of devouring that shatters images. As a result, a network of extreme porosity is woven, making it complex to inhabit surfaces in the space and temporality of lineages, where what illuminates the gaze is inherently prone to ignite. As such, “Borders” can be understood equally within this diversity of openings with its anachronisms and semantic detours, as well as through a borderline existential behavior. The territory seized by these figures would, in contrast, constitute a republic of affects within which the ambiguity of the word “border” itself, whether its absence or excessive divisive presence, defines both a poetic and political stance to escape any logic of normalisation, including the piercing one of facial recognition algorithms.
Vincent Bizien, October 2023
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