JEAN-LUC MOERMAN Epiphytes ep·i·phyte n. :A plant that grows on another plant, depending upon it for mechanical support but not for nutrients.
Private View 7-9pm, 30 January 2012 31 January – 2 March 2012
Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde is proud to present the Middle Eastern debut solo exhibition of new works by internationally acclaimed Belgian multimedia artist Jean-Luc Moerman.
In ‘Epiphytes’ Moerman brings to Dubai a collection of works that introduces his intensely distinctive practice to the region. Moerman works with marker pens and acrylics on an indiscriminate range of surfaces and objects to create visual epiphytes. In the way that epiphytic plants grow on other plants, deriving basic support from them, but not nutrition, Moerman’s elaborate drawings grow and spread virally on his chosen surfaces. The delicate lines seem to spread organically, in harmony with the image or object of which they are taking possession, and yet they grow from other sources of inspiration.
Known for his drawing made of billowy and mutant networks of black lines, Moerman has always granted himself the liberty to sprout up on almost anything. Having been compelled for the past 35 years by the infinite possibilities of the line, Moerman’s career has seen him work on whichever support comes easiest to hand – tables, walls, cars, stickers, robots, as well as contemporary images of international supermodels and sports stars, and reproductions of classical masterpieces. All these surfaces, in varying degrees, have lent themselves to inspiring and shaping his evolving vision.
In this exhibition, Moerman will be exhibiting nine works on paper based on classical art works, two pieces entitled ‘Top Model’ and a variety of works on stainless steel sheets. Classical paintings and ancient stories find themselves reframed and regenerated by his complex circumvolutions. With the weighty heritage of Ingres’ nudes, and Lucas Cranach the Elder’s portrait of Lucretia, the daughter of Pope Alexander, and the iconic images of Kate Moss, Moerman draws parallels between the deification of the female form within a religious context and the feverishly secular worship of a 21st century icon. He has taken the figures outside their pre-defined context and placed them into an ongoing, universal narrative that he articulates through the ‘tribalism’ inherent in the medium of tattoos. Bywrapping the nudes in these black veils of tattoos, Moerman alludes to ideas of censorship; the honest classical nudes become scandalous and intriguing once partially concealed beneath his calligraphic webs.
Moerman’s ongoing fascination with the iconography and representation of religiously-inspired themes continues with two sculptural works in the forms of baseball bats, questioning the bludgeoning rhetoric of fanatical Christians, whilst deploring the absence of spiritual meaning and relevance in modern Western societies.
The core of Jean Luc Moerman’s artistic practice is draughtsmanship. He takes his two- or three-dimensional starting points and covers them in highly elaborate and refined calligraphic lines, executed with utmost control and precision. While he is working, he works purely and devotedly for the sake only of the lines and curves he is laying down. The works are obsessive investigations of pattern, tradition and technique that evoke the roles of tattooing, Islamic and Japanese calligraphy, and graffiti in our chaotic world history.
Jean-Luc Moerman (b. 1967) lives and works in Brussels. Since his first solo show in Germany at Galerie B.A. Mickan in 1995, Moerman has gone on to exhibit internationally in a wide spectrum of capacities. His works have featured in numerous galleries, museums and private collections, namely the Olbricht Collection, Berlin; La Maison Rouge, Paris; Musee D’Art Modern, Luxemburg; Musee d’Ixelles, Brussels; Musee des Beaux-Arts, Calais; MOCA, Shanghai; The Flag Art Foundation, NYC; Vanhaerents Collection, Brussels. Additionally notable is his solo project at Art Unlimited, Art Basel in 2005, his participation in a number of biennials, public space and iconic façade projects, and his retrospectives at BPS22, Belgium and Leu Gallery, Munich. With two monographs published, ‘The Art of Jean-Luc Moerman’ features a key interview with Hans Ulrich Olbrist. In the last year alone he has had solo exhibitions in Brussels, Barcelona, Munich, Luxemburg, Korea and Venice and Dubai.