François Curlet

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The Institut d'Art Contemporain is presenting an important exhibition of work by François Curlet. The exhibition at the Institut d'Art Contemporain, bringing together fifty-four works created between 1989 and 2006, will give an overview of his approach in the form of a rebus in three dimensions. At this important juncture in his career, encouraged by the IAC, Curlet is inviting two radical artists, Jens Haaning and Christophe Terlinden, to occupy different spaces, thus extending his "off-centre" art into the exhibition venue.

Over the last fifteen years, Curlet has participated in numerous exhibitions in France and elsewhere, both individual (Micheline Szwajcer gallery, 2004; Air de Paris, 2003; Centre d'Art Contemporain, Sète, 2000; Le Collège, FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, 1997) and collective (Palais de Tokyo, Paris; MUDAM, Luxembourg; Grand Palais, Paris, 2006; MUHKA, Antwerp, 2005).

Born in Paris in 1967, François Curlet lived in Lyon up to the age of twenty-two, during which time he travelled extensively in France and abroad, with Brussels as his base. The itinerary of this self-imposed exile illustrates his stance, not just in conceptual and analytical terms but also on the frontier of explorations into non-sense and the unconscious. As heir both to John Knight and Jef Geys, he brings about a singular fusion between conceptual art, Dadaist survivals, pop imagery and situationist-type speculations.

Curlet uses a large variety of methods and materials. He draws both on reality and the imagination, borrowing from the domains of the folk tale, television, economic exchanges and communication – contemporary media worlds out of which he conjures up engaging deregulations. These elements – whether objects, signs, messages, or whatever – are subjected to a variety of displacements and transformations that divert, invert, or even invalidate their own functionalities.

In these manipulations, Curlet does not hold back from using different processes that also produce commutations of sense: discontinuity, hypertrophy and repetitions of motifs, deconstructions of the visual, effects of incongruous presence, linguistic games and semantic deviations. He works through a magnifying glass, as though to dilate the ordinary to the point of materialising the improbable.

With his talent for distorting cultural codes, Curlet brings out their potential for play, poetry and narration, infusing everything he touches with his caustic humour. He produces visual and cultural telescopings of fictions and realities, and, with fantasy and irreverent laughter, "remixes" objects and images into a parallel, distinctive "UFOesque" world.

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