Preview: Saturday 11 September (1-4pm)
Exhibition: 12 September – 16 October, 2021
In his debut solo exhibition with the gallery, French artist Florent Stosskopf presents ‘ETERNAL FLOWERS’, a new series of works that simultaneously delight and dazzle the viewer. Stosskopf has ventured from his so-called ‘former life’ as a graphic designer to become the self-taught artist we see today. Hailing from Brittany, Stosskopf’s work explores the evolution of art through the ages.
Through conventional subject matter (nudes, portraits, still lives, and interiors) that has been handled in a surprising, whimsical manner, Stosskopf invites the viewer to reconsider the tropes that we are accustomed to seeing in the art historical canon. Stosskopf’s intent is to flatten the perceived hierarchy that exists between various art-historical modes of representation; his pieces challenge the traditional notion of the figurative and still life, readily adopting the influence of artists, both past and present. We see nods to artists like Matisse and Cézanne as enthusiastically as contemporary painters like Guy Yanai or Jonas Wood, for instance.
There seems to be a sort of intentional atemporality, where these scenes exist between any easily identifiable time and place. At times, Stosskopf’s interiors seem bucolic: the interior of some idyllic Provençal pied-a-terre or a reference to a floral bouquet a la Ruysch. But the placement of a contemporary art book within the scene, or a reference to a contemporary artist seems to upend the classification. As a result, there’s a sort of tongue-in-cheek beauty about scenes that seem always somewhat familiar, yet always somehow displaced.
This detachment from his pictoral mode is further accentuated by the use of bold and dazzling block colours and flat lines. His vibrant colours seem to reaffirm his Millenial status – amping up the saturation and playfulness to pay homage to art history while simultaneously poking fun at the artifice of the world he seems so fascinated by. Whether that be through deliberately placed object such as a Keith Haring book, or a skull plucked from Dutch painter Pieter Claesz ‘Vanitas’, Florent seems eager to keep us eternally guessing about his eternal flowers.