Michel Soskine Inc. is very pleased to present from December 14 through February 3, 2018, the latest works by French artist Fabien Mérelle (Fontenay-sous-Bois, 1981). The exhibition will present 12 drawings in ink and watercolor. In these recent works, Fabien Mérelle goes through different situations with a clean and forceful compositional line: the artist does not leave space for artifice or the superfluous and recreates emotional situations through metaphor and sometimes a certain irony. His drawings express yearning and dreaming, and are inspired by his daily life. The oniric character gives rise to an intimate interpretation of its meaning, since the interaction of the characters in nature, among themselves or in absolute solitude, speaks to us of a symbolic world of complicated existence and at times of our desires and frustrations.
Fabien Mérelle, graduated at the Paris Beaux Art Academy in 2006 after having received a scholarship in 2005 in the prestigious University of Fine Arts of Xi'An (China) where he got acquainted with the technique of drawing in ink and oriental methods of working with ink brushes. As a starting point, the technical precision is one of the differentiating elements of Fabien's drawing - with references from masters such as Alberto Durer or Gustave Doré, but the recreation of his psychological scenes is the true content of his work, dreams, phobias, desires… A personal world speaking of aspirations, conflicts and fears where a duality between adulthood and childhood is often present. In Sous un manteau de novembre, 2017 -picture of the first page- the artist is standing barefoot and wearing a “survival” blanket like a lonely exiled human being in need of warmth.
The neutral background increases the isolation of the characters and reinforces the focus on them. This pictorial strategy allows him to focus on the figure by creating a space and indeterminate atmosphere where the figures seem to float in an unreal environment. The absence of descriptive color in these scenes, in addition to clearly appreciating Fabien's technical ability, emphasizes the theatrical appearance of his compositions. The narration of his surroundings leads him to represent himself in self-portraits that explore the gesture, bordering the limits between physical and mental, as for example in Chevalier where the artist personifies a warrior armed with a broom, a knife and a saucepan on his head. The comic scene doesn’t hide a feeling of helplessness, where the chevalier defends himself with domestic elements that seems to have improvised on front of an unforeseen threat.
In Serpent 2017, a nightmare dream, the artist represents himself as ‘escaping’ from a snake that ascends towards him on a tree. The formal simplicity accentuates the drama where Mérelle expresses a psychological battle within the subconscious. These extreme situations drawn on paper, reflect the vital concerns and fears of Mérelle, an artist attentive to express how a “body language “ so that it may be felt by the viewer.
Fabien Mérelle has gained international recognition in institutions such as Lieu Unique (Nantes); Drawing Center (New York); UQ Art Museum (Brisbane); Musée des Beaux Arts (La Rochelle); Centre Pompidou (Paris). After his residency at Casa de Velázquez in Madrid he has won multiple awards such as the Canson International Prize in 2010 or the Sanofi Prize in 2014. In 2013 a monograph of his work was published with essays by Kaegan Sparks, Dr. Chia-Ling Yang and Bertrand Dumas, besides appearing in influential publications such as Art Actual, Beaux-Arts Magazine and Le Monde. His work is included in museum collections such as the Centre Pompidou or the Contemporary Art Foundation Daniel and Florence Guerlain. Currently, he exhibits regularly in galleries in Asia and Europe and this exhibition represents the second individual at Michel Soskine Inc. since 2009.