Here is Elsewhere Gallery and Grégory Bernard are pleased to present Write a Book about WHAT?, the first exhibition in the US by Barzolff. The French-born, Los Angeles-based artist works in a range of mediums including graffiti, 3D animation, video installation, drawing, and painting. The exhibition will introduce his latest large-scale paintings, stereoscopy, video installations, and drawings sold by the gram.
Barzolff started out as Numéro 6, a groundbreaking graffiti artist in the Parisian street art scene who emerged as one of the most distinctive voices of the genre. According to Paris Tonkar magazine, Barzolff is “a masterful illustrator and an iconic figure, who transformed the standardized imagery used in French graffiti in the second half of the 90s.”
After obtaining his BA in Visual Arts, Barzolff went on to study film animation at the Gobelins l'école de l'Image in Paris. While most alumni of the prestigious program became recruits for Disney and other major American animation studios, Barzolff was compulsively spraying walls. His apt portrayal of his street culture culminated in two series that aired on the iconic Canal+ television station in Europe: the cult animated series Les Lascars (The Rascals), lauded for capturing the zeitgeist of that era, and more recently the disturbingly absurd The World According To F. R. Jeansac.
For a few “lost years” (in his own words), Barzolff worked in the advertising and music video industry, gaining recognition in the field and winning many prestigious awards including the People's Choice Imagina Award and Best Music Video Award in Annecy, France. He also won the famed D&AD Award in the UK for his seminal work. In 2010, he turned his back on the "soul-sucking" advertising machine to live as a recluse in Burgundy and devote himself to blazing new trails in art. Now ensconced in Beachwood Canyon, he's creating his most powerful pieces to date.
Monstrous, stunning and often baroque in their style, the subjects of his paintings feature arresting characters which elicit both disgust and compassion. Fascinated by the lesser albeit universal human trait of stupidity, he glorifies its aesthetic to the point of beauty. Reinventing the craft and form he devoted his childhood and adolescence to mastering, his pieces could be summed up by the Baudelaire quote: "I only ask of every man that he show me what remains of Life.” Flesh, folds, and meat are at the forefront of his opus. To quote Deleuze on Francis Bacon, it is the “logic of sensation” that consumes him. “Every man who suffers is a piece of meat. Meat is the common zone of man and beast, their zone of indiscernibility." With his background in 3D animation and graffiti, Barzolff approaches the canvas with a fresh eye, creating a new aesthetic with layers and texture that result in the illusion of depth of field. Ultimately, these works are radically new in contemporary art, a unique mix of fin-de-siècle aesthetic with 21st century street art and new media style.
A fruitful anachronism lies at the base of another distinctive new body of work: his stereoscopes. Stereoscopy creates the illusion of three-dimensional depth from two-dimensional images viewed through a stereoscope. With this archaic medium, Barzolff invites the viewer to travel into his digital universe as he poetically mixes new technology with a late 1800s aesthetic, utilizing an optic tool that was once used for filmmaking in Hollywood. The exhibition also includes an installation in a 1950s television featuring a selection of videos from his fake UFO hoax project which received over 20 million views on YouTube. He therefore creates a “retrocipation,” to quote critic Arnaud Pierre, “conjugating in the past future visions of a now obsolete future.”
Beyond his experimental mind, humor and irony are integral to Barzolff’s style. His work transports the viewer to the point where the absurd becomes sublime, while revealing the nonsense of consumerism and its impact on our everyday life.
With his Art by the Gram, art becomes a new currency: the culmination of 15 years of Barzolff’s small drawings, sketches, restaurant napkins & phone doodles are cut up, weighed, and packaged in plastic baggies that individuals can buy by the gram, like in a grocery store. “First and foremost art’s purpose is to feed the artist,” says Barzolff. The same sarcastic wit imbues the animated music videos that he recently did in Los Angeles, for musicians including as Flying Lotus, Boys Noize and Mr. Oizo.
Based in Paris and LA, Grégory Bernard is passionate about promoting creativity. After creating a group of international companies in the media, new technology, and film industries, Bernard has focused on developing and producing artists that he believes are world leaders in their art form. His goal is to help artists achieve cult status in their field: Quentin Dupieux in film (Rubber and 3 other films shot in LA) and Olympia Le Tan in fashion. Bernard has now joined forces with Here is Elsewhere Gallery to unveil new work by Barzolff.
Joan Le Boru is a production designer and interior designer who has overseen the art direction and scenography of the exhibition.
Here is Elsewhere Gallery is dedicated to exploring the hidden history that links artists from here (Southern California) with artists from elsewhere (the rest of the world). Created in 2010 by its director, Yann Perreau, Here is Elsewhere has exhibited artists such as Niki de Saint-Phalle, Larry Bell and Henry Taylor among others.
For images and information, please contact Margot Ross at 323.217.2237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.