Valentin Guillon is a young French artist exploring the boundaries of space and colour. He graduated from the school of Arts Décoratifs in Paris recently, and has been since working on a variety of projects including the exhibition Les Trois Pistes at the gallery Florence Loewy in Paris.*
Valentin Guillon, Le Peloton, 2018, acrylic on wood, 120 cm, exhibition view from Les Trois Pistes at the Florence Loewy Gallery, Paris ©Aurélien Mole
His artistic practice gathers together different disciplines such as architecture, design, sculpture and painting. The combination gives birth to vibrant and colourful pieces propelling our eyes to move around the space when we see at a sculpture or at a canvas. Sight and the body are thus predominant resources for Guillon as he desires to create harmony in the space in which he works. Like in Mark Rothko’s work or Günther Förg, colour is center stage, and even though there are forms in his compositions, they never distract our sight from what is important. Colour by itself does not exist in our everyday lives, it is always accompanied by objects relegating it to a secondary position. Guillon strips it of any meaning, it is released from its role to finally become visible and appear in its purest form. Le Peloton or Le Sprint are pieces where the power of colour is enhanced through colour radiants creating emotional responses as well as dynamic routes for our eyes to follow.
Valentin Guillon, L’échapée, 2018, acrylic on wood, 85 x 120 cm, exhibition view from Les Trois Pistes at the Florence Loewy Gallery, Paris ©Aurélien Mole
Dynamic routes are indeed what Guillon creates, curve lines and waves echo one of the artist’s most beloved activities: sports. Juggling and skateboarding were practised by Guillon during his adolescent years, from them he took movement’s lesson and the inability to let the spectator idle. While our sight feasts upon colour, our bodies wander around an assortment of surfaces such as À vos marques, a half-pipe conceived for the exhibition Les Trois Pistes or Le Funambule, a mobile composed of different geometric shapes. Movement is always solicited, whether the spectator is required to make it or the configurations themselves, it’s unmistakable part of the dynamics.
Exhibition View from Les Trois Pistes by Valentin Guillon at the Florence Loewy Gallery, Paris ©Aurélien Mole
Furthermore, mathematics and the laws of physics pop in one’s mind when looking at works such as Trajectoires, a series of photographs depicting a ball trajectory. The artist’s scientific approach appears in compositions such as Mets la Gomme!, a painting resembling Trajectoires where a ball’s movement is decomposed. In this project and even in his paintings, speed is always referred to by lines or the spectator’s body, the latter consistently in movement. To the aesthetic experience of colour observation, Guillon adds a complex system of thought where both parts of the brain need to reconcile to fully understand his oeuvre. In the artist’s words “it’s all about balance”.
Valentin Guillon, Mets la Gomme!, 2018, serigraphy, 100 x 70 cm, exhibition view from Les Trois Pistes at the Florence Loewy Gallery, Paris ©Aurélien Mole
On the other hand, Guillon’s interest in architecture epitomizes his artistic quest: to originate equilibrium in a specific space. Colours, trajectories and geometric shapes exist autonomously but commingle in order to construct a thorough space. Much of Guillon’s forms are borrowed from Constructivism and the Bauhaus, his keenness for geometric shapes are reminiscent of the two movements. Yet, Guillon does not conform to merely emulate them, he takes elements from different sources to manufacture his own aesthetics. Solemnity is not part of the equation, his playful compositions are evocative of childhood spaces like playgrounds and parks. Bringing outer configurations to the white cube makes us reconsider its laws and defy them.
Valentin Guillon, Le Sprint, 2018, acrylic on wood, 85×120 cm, exhibition view from Les Trois Pistes, at the Florence Loewy Gallery, Paris ©Aurélien Mole
*The exhibition Les trois pistes received the support of the Cnap.
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