French artist Gaëtan de Seguin's (b. 1971, Montpellier, France) latest series "J+...." is a reaction to the terrorists attack on French Satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that took place in January 2015 and the March that took place later that month in Paris and cities around the world. de Sequin explains, "I immediately wanted my characters to gather and spread out of the canvas. Crowds. Be they dense or sparse, joyful, humble, silent or roaring, moving or obnoxious, etc. Their physical appearance does not matter. It is the combination of their convictions that tinctures the whole group." Each work titled “J+...", represents the number of days after the January 2015 events and when de Seguin began to work on the piece.
Within this series, de Sequin employs two artistic methods, paint on canvas and Moucharabieh, a perforated wall composed mostly of geometrical, arabesque motifs, in the form of a screen, to animate his crowds. These anonymous characters, consisting of a multitude of silhouettes almost identical but remain singular, are represented by a unique pattern of markings further illustrates this “mosaic of a society, a patchwork of men”; each having their own fears, anxieties, but also their hopes and desires in a world that bears multiple aspects. These qualities within the painting and sculptural work show the individual as much as it offers him the possibility to melt into a much broader and abstract dimension.
Within his sculptural pieces, which employ the principles of the moucharabieh, de Sequin continues to offer a different perspective. Questioning the individuals and his place into the grander scheme, he inserts negative space with the pieces to create an alternative focus for the viewer. As light moves through the sculptural works, casting a shadow of the crowd, de Sequin shows humankind constituted of individuals who interact as much as they ignore each other with a great humanism. After graduating from school and completing his military service, he studied art in Paris at ESAG Penninghen. Throughout his career, de Seguin’s works have evolved from abstraction towards figuration, which he continues to develop to this day.
"I have always been the one who draws and the one who draws “blokes.” As soon as I lay a hand on anything I can draw on, I cover it up with silhouettes. In 40 years, I became responsible for a great bestiary! Each working session in my workshop gives birth to humankind constituted of individuals who interact as much as they ignore each other. All of them are wild and wise at the same time, creative and vain. As far as I offer to anyone the possibility to invent my characters’ own stories, my painting is decisive of a figurative type.
“A thread, if need be… January 2015’s events, for instance, I immediately wanted my characters to gather and spread out of the canvas. Crowds… Be they dense or sparse, joyful, humble, silent or roaring, moving or obnoxious, etc.…Their physical appearance does not matter. It is the combination of their convictions that tinctures the whole group. This is what I am currently working on in my latest series “J+…”.I cover my canvas with a dominant, very dense, almost garish coat. This undercoat subsequently gets entirely covered. The general shade lightens up, and the color scheme fades into a monochrome of grey. At this stage, I can start painting, adding or extracting substance. The music I listen to imposes the rhythm for the group to pop up. Scratching with the most various tools, I can paint with all kinds of brushes. Each scratch represents a unique pattern which characterizes the individual as much as it offers him the possibility to melt into a much broader and abstract dimension." - Gaëtan de Seguin