Invited by frac île-de-france to occupy, on the one hand, the window display of its antenne culturelle, on the other hand, as part of the Vitrines sur l’art at the Galeries Lafayette, Julien Carreyn sees this double exhibition as a possibility to develop his visual world.
For this presentation of images, he plays with the codes of the window display in different paradoxical registers: showing/hiding, seducing/distancing… The artist takes into account the function of the premises and their special features, such as the reflections of light on the glass, the quality of the floors and walls… and makes these presentations an unusual drugstore, offered to passers-by. These presentations are based in particular on elements of latticework, a motif whose imaginary aspect refers to the world of winter gardens and to the history of window displays, approaching the outdated.
The presentation of the images in small and medium formats calls for particular attention and encourages us to approach them closely, as does the presence of partly visible or hidden elements. Some texts slide between the images – snippets of narratives, informative data, writings in ancient Greek… The passer-by can thus form links, and imagine a kind of fiction, between the images, the presentation elements and the texts; and between the display stands and the context of the display window itself. The ensemble of the elements brought together form a composition precisely orchestrated by the artist, a delicate organization of different signs. The two presentations are designed to respond to each other, with the public being urged to move from one to the other.
Julien Carreyn’s art practice is based on the production of images, with a special importance given to their modes of appearance, organization, classification and montage. Made with various media and using many different techniques – invariably current or else nowadays threatened by obsolescence (drawing, photography, painting, printing, silk-screen, books…) – his images appear in different formats, which tend to be small (notebook, post card, US letter format and fanzine).
Abstraction and figuration exist together in compositions with a precise and hyper-realist style, often contradicted by effects (a blurred or colorized treatment, for example) producing unreality and mystery. Their mise-en-scène is set up during sessions with live models, or else spontaneously. They are references to classical and contemporary art history, but also point to more popular or strange cultures. Major genres (portrait, landscape…) thus seem to be treated in a trivial manner, that of a French-style low-budget Z movie, for example. The quest for gestural beauty or even for technical prowess goes hand in hand with an attention to the exhibition and an approach by series, giving the work a conceptual dimension.
While claiming to believe in a “power” or an “aura” of the image, Julien Carreyn merrily subverts the notions of good taste and “French style”, as well as certain contemporary art stereotypes. In a time marked by “everything-is-imagery”, the artist, at once an aesthete and a connoisseur/art lover, lends an unusual form to this medium which has today become tarnished, and thus constructs a world producing effects of confusion and dreaminess.
Les Vitrines sur l’art
Galerie Lafayette, Magasin coupole
The window Display
22 cours du 7e art