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Face Off Two holes are the sign of the face Brassaï Julien Meert’s pictorial work is at once (hyper) figurative and radically disembodied. In his works, one encounters faces and bodies that emerge from the middle of vividly colored backgrounds. But the bodies are reduced to smooth, stylized silhouettes, and the faces to vague features or a few signs, crudely sketched like so many mannequins and masks that tend towards abstraction. The gazes remain, with empty or wild eyes—the pivot point on which the pictorial action hinges—sometimes reduced to a minimum, sometimes animated by a life that is abstracted and near-autonomous. The more the face is defined, the more the background is reduced to flatness, the more the face is simplified, the more the pictorial events begin to multiply. Julien Meert freely uses all the formal vocabularies that he encounters. He cites, among many sources, Brusselmans and 1970s graffiti, Sigmar Polke and Marisa Merz. From the intersection between the contemporary dynamism of street art’s tools (spray paint and graphic stylization) and the richness of a history of art in the public domain is born a new language that, despite the extreme classicism of the subject it tackles, could not belong to any other era than today’s.


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