Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac presents Patrick Neu’s solo exhibition Iris, Jardin des Délices, on view on the upper floor of the Marais gallery.
Patrick Neu’s work reflects on our relationship to time and the fragility of things. Of an apparent simplicity, his works do not preclude ambivalence and double meanings. By using materials as diverse and unusual as glass, soot, and the wings of bees and butterflies, he toys with the unknowns and constraints of material.
The works presented in this exhibition bring into play the relationship between images and the individual and collective memory. Patrick Neu often makes references to art history’s most significant artworks, of which he reproduces the details on glass that has been blackened by smoke. For this exhibition, he found inspiration in Jardin des délices (1494-1505, Prado Museum, Madrid), Jérôme Bosch’s most famous creation. The triptych – which sequentially outlines Adam and Eve’s union in Paradise, humanity’s sin before the Flood and vision of Hell – is famous for its rich motifs and details.
In order to create these meticulous works – often presented in the form of cabinets or glass cases – the artist deposits a thin layer of soot on the glass or crystal, and then draws a resist pattern in the manner of an engraver. This ambiguous process, which carries the presage of its own disappearance, questions the image’s place in our collective unconscious. “I have a passion for art history,” acknowledges Patrick Neu, “I did paint, even if I have never really shown my paintings. What I find important is that people recognize images familiar to them, and, as a result, do not feel excluded.”
For many years now, each spring, Patrick Neu paints the irises in his mother’s garden during the period of their short blossoming. These incredibly delicate works are at once a part of the artist’s long-term experience of time – as he repeats the same action each year – and Nature’s short-term cycles. On a page left purposely blank, without their foliage, the flowers come to have a quasi-abstract dimension where the ephemeral and frozen as well as the full and empty are reconciled. The high concentration in pigments, which is unusual for watercolor, allows the drawings a variety of shades. For Katell Jaffrès, curator of Patrick Neu’s solo exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in 2015, “The great concentration implied in his creative work evokes a sort of meditation on our relationship with time in dialogue with the seasonal cycle. In order to attain the meticulousness of the action that must be repeated when creating these fascinating works of an incredible depth, the body and spirit become indispensable elements in the creative act.”
Patrick Neu (born in 1963) lives and works in Lorraine. In 1995, he was a resident of the Villa Medicis in Rome, and, in 1999, of the Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto. He has received many solo exhibitions including Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2015); La Verrière hermès, Brussels (2012); Mamco, Genève (2010); Frac Lorraine, Metz (2008). In 2017, he participated in an exhibition entitled Jardins at the Grand Palais. L’Abbaye de Maubuisson will host a comprehensive solo exhibition of his work in the fall of 2018.