carlier | gebauer is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new paintings by French -structs an autonomous, tragi-comic world in his works. He considers each painting that he makes to be a fragment of an internal monologue, describing them as “both x-rays of our world and cross sections of my own brain.” For Gicquel, painting and living occupy the same continuum. Both activities exist in the same relationship to the world —existence, like painting, has no goal.1 The only goal is to live.
In Brothers in Arms, Gicquel presents a series of new oil paintings in which he further newest works primarily present these characters in isolation. Arc depicts a solitary form over his genitals, which is bound to his body by a loincloth of sorts. It’s un-clear whether this form is part of his body or something he has stolen and is therefore trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to conceal from view. He looks slightly stunned—as if overcome by his own power or caught red-handed. Mardi-Gras human gesture there is nonetheless a blurring that occurs between the young and the a child and the gently sloping ears of a baby lamb. Conversely, his shorter companion possesses a strange bird-like quality and his countenance has the assured gaze of an old man.
The expression brothers in arms is used to designate people who have served together shared sense of solitude - even when they are together. In a series of small-format palette that threatens to subsume them. Painted from the shoulders up, their limbs are not visible and they have little space to operate within. This formal choice seems to deprive the characters of their capacity to act - yet they nonetheless seem to respond and feel. Viewed together, the portraits form a continuum of suspended states of emo-tion: bemusement, horror, fear, surprise, sadness, and self-satisfaction. Gicquel has claimed in interviews that his characters are egotistical and out for themselves—and that they have no links to the world, and even less to the people, that surround them. Yet in meeting our gaze, these strange creatures bridge the gap between painting and life, as if to claim the viewer as their “brother in arms”—another witness to the paradoxical uncertainty of the human condition. Vincent Gicquel (b.1974 in Normandy) lives and works in Bordeaux. He has recently exhibited at La Criée centre d’art contemporain, Rennes and the presentation of the Pinault collection at Couvent des Jacobins, Rennes.
1 Pedro Morais, “Vincent Gicquel,” p.14.