BY CHRISTINE MINAS | JUNE 16, 2019
On a recent research trip to Paris a number of locals introduced me to galleries and artists that I might not have discovered otherwise. While many were of interest, Julien Discrit, Clément Davout and Reine Paradis are a few of the special standouts.
As many contemporary artists move around quite a bit, for the purposes of this article, the category of Paris applies most consistently to the location of these artists’ galleries. As for the artists, Julien Discrit lives and works in Paris, Clément Davout in Brussels and Reine Paradis in Los Angeles.
Julien Discrit at Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou
Nestled in the narrow streets of the Marais just north of the Centre Pompidou, Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou features a program of emerging contemporary artists. Bénichou started her gallery in 2016 and the day of my visit coincided with the opening of a show featuring the work of Julien Discrit, shown here.
Julien Discrit is a polymath of an artist working in a variety of media. A standout from the show was a series of works called Stones (Pierres) from 2017. Discrit has made sculptures in which stone meets resin, a commentary on the interlocking nature of the natural and the artificial. The works in this series focus on the human hand, with the hybrid organic-plastic objects melded into singular petrified forms.
In this sculpture called Kintsugi, Discrit has created a head fragment from carrara marble.
Kintsugi imagines the missing portion of another sculpture, the Angel of Nagasaki, which was damaged by the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945. The title adds another layer of meaning: in Japanese, kintsugi means the art of repairing broken pottery.
Clément Davout at Galerie Laure Roynette
Around the corner from the Picasso Museum, Galerie Laure Roynette shows a program of emerging and mid-career artists. One of Roynette’s artists is Brussels-based Clément Davout who had a solo show at the gallery earlier this year.
Davout bases his paintings on his own photographs. He builds his sensitive paintings through the use of thin layers of oil on canvas. His paintings evoke the gauziness of memories, dreams and, as the title suggest, a visceral experience of jealousy.
The title for Davout’s solo exhibition Jealousies (Jalousies) comes from a 1957 novel by French writer Alain Robbe-Grillet. The novel tells of a love triangle in a colonial mansion on a banana plantation. The title of the novel, and the show, also has a second meaning: “jealousies” are also a type of window blind. Known in English as either “jealousy windows” or “louvred windows”, these window coverings are composed of slats joined onto a track, the kind that are opened and shut in unison with the turn of a crank. In Robbe-Grillet’s novel, the jealous husband spies on his wife through their home’s jalousie windows.
Reine Paradis at Galerie Catherine et André Hug
French-born artist Paradis lives and works in Los Angeles. To my native Angeleno eye, what drew me in at first was her cool way of rendering a visual experience unique to the American West: flat planes of color juxtaposed against blue skies that are devoid of humidity.
While the aforementioned Clément Davout makes paintings from photographs, Reine Paradis starts with a sketch of the scene she wishes to create. She then painstakingly creates a maquette, followed by staging the final photograph of the original idea. Her photographs are comprised of real elements, including origami animal constructions, and shot in real locations. For Paradis, who considers herself a surrealist, photography is the only real way to create a world that exists between reality and imagination.
Paradis is the subject of a feature documentary called “Queen of Paradis.” Directed by Carl Lindstrom, it recently won the Best Feature Film prize at the LA Indie Film Festival.
Watch the trailer here.