Jean-Luc Moulène: photography, sculpture, drawing and a new film at Modern Art Oxford

By Richard Moss | 26 September 2012
a knot of glass in blue, green, yellow and red
Bown Knot 6 32 (Barrowmean) Varia 1.© the artist

Exhibition Preview: Jean-Luc Moulène, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, September 29 – November 25 2012


Although these things are hardly prescribed in the modern artworld, the CV of Jean-Luc Moulène doesn’t seem to represent the conventional route into contemporary art.

Born in 1955 in Reims, France, Moulène studied Literature and Philosophy at the Sorbonne University where he was awarded his Master’s degree.

A tilt in the direction of advertising brought with it a growing understanding of the relationship between image and object, and it is perhaps this experience which informs and best explains his approach.

Moulène is renowned for his photography but his work also covers sculpture, film, drawing and print work. All of these media are on show here in what the gallery describes as a “ceremony or procession presenting several series of works from the last decade.”

As well as his celebrated monochromes painted with conventional BIC ballpoint inks in red, green, blue and black, there are some complex sculptural knots made from glass and bronze and manufactured objects incorporated with drawings and prints celebrating the art of making as fundamental to human activity.  

Throughout this “procession”, what emerges is an interest in anthropology, material cultures of the past, mathematics and geometry.

“My work seeks to produce differences through re-examination of tradition and theoretical statement,” says Moulène.

“This exhibition reflects my response to all types of possibilities from the last couple of decades while also examining new ideas with the film The Three Graces.”

Co-operating closely with curators, the new specially-commissioned film work also makes its debut here.

The Three Graces marks a transition for the artist and plunders traditional classical and Renaissance art history, together with elements of sculpture, drawing and painting in a black and white film that attempts to transpose Greek mythology into the era of mechanized reproduction.

At times, Moulène seems to borrow wholesale from the world of commercial art. It has been said that his work sometimes resembles commercial advertising.

Certainly he has a deep interest in cultural phenomena, and as you might expect with someone with a masters in philosophy, there are layers of complexity to his work - both in terms of meaning and technique.

More pictures:

a symmetrical graphic representation of a star
Etoile Noir© the artist
a photograph of a glass bottle with ink in it
Ink© the artist
a photo of a parked car with a spillage on the pavement next to it
La Fontaine des Amoureux© the artist
a photo of a drawn circle within a circle on paper with two photographed eyes pasted onto the paper
Le Noeud Coulant© the artist
a photo of an electric fan
Ventilator© the artist
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