Richard Dupont “Apres Ski”
“These are weird”, “I can’t look at it too long, it plays with my brain”. “I couldn’t have a naked man in my house”… were some of the overheard comments at our opening of Richard Dupont’s show last night. The fascinating and challenging works are not instantly digestible or easy to understand. That is their appeal.
As I walked around, talking to various people, I realized that many started the evening with a level of discomfort about the work and the show. It was not the “prettiest” show we have had in the gallery and I could tell some of our clients and friends came to support us and Richard but didn’t actually expect to like the work. I’m happy to say that many of their perceptions changed through the course of the evening.
Richard Dupont’s work epitomizes why I love contemporary art. It captures and demands your attention and you might ask yourself “why would an artist make that?” It begs for questions and I find that you have to know a little bit about the artist and their thought process to truly appreciate the work.
Way ahead of his time, before Edward Snowden and Wiki-leaks, before social media was able to track our “likes” and “dislikes” so precisely, Richard was uncomfortable with the increasing level of surveillance in our society. Over 10 years ago he felt that government and corporate entities just wanted to know about our numbers, our “data”, so to speak. How much money you make, your zip code, how you pay your bills, and so on… Richard felt that technology and surveillance was making our lives less about human interaction and more about the “data” that defines us. He wanted to create artwork that showed the uncomfortable idea that “if data can be collected, it can be manipulated and distorted”. Richard’s Orwellian figures and images, like something straight out of “1984”, embody this mechanized, humanistic element, somehow human, but somehow something else too. His figures and faces serenely cast an omnipresent energy – something we recognize as human, but distant and eerily calm, a bit creepy and makes the viewer physically and mentally uncomfortable by playing with our perceptions of space and time.
BRILLIANT is what it is… that a piece of art can convey an idea so perfectly, so clearly. That the moment you hear the explanation of what the artist is trying to tell us, it’s like a light bulb goes off and you have this flush of emotion, “I get it, he’s right, it’s perfect”. At that moment the work of art becomes something more, it becomes something beautiful…
Posted on February 16, 2014 by Galerie Maximillian