As a surveyor of the urban world, Sébastien Mehal plays with cross-breeding as if it were a frontier that he pushes back and shifts in his works to the limits of abstraction.
Very early on, Sébastien Mehal approaches monochromy, which he develops on large square, round or oval formats. His palette inspired by body paint colours ranges from metallic blue to green and grey to warmer shades of purple or gold. His canvases are distinguished by splashes of liquid paint “injected” using large industrial or medical syringes. The smooth textures then reveal subtle reliefs, capturing and reflecting light and introducing an effect of depth into a seemingly flat painting work. The pictorial surface is otherwise animated. It benefits from a new “energy”.
Displacement is distinguished by the silk-screen printing on the canvas of barely perceptible portraits, the artist enhances them with transparent runs which give this series a controlled force, the power of a voluntary act where the gesture imposes itself on the colour.
He has made the light bulb a central image in his work. Placed at the centre of glittering monochromes, the light bulb symbolises the impact of today’s society in inhabited areas. The notion of light, whether artificial, electric or that which radiates from the pictorial surface, evokes the mental light of the human being, his spiritual capacity to transcend pure matter. It becomes the symbol of what animates us, of our vital energy. The light bulb remains an omnipresent element in the urban context. For the artist, it represents the real and symbolic foundation of contemporary life. The continuous streams of light rays are reminiscent of the flow of people and ideas that circulate at high speed in the world’s megacities. Thanks to electric light, the rhythms of life are no longer subject to the seasons or sunrise, but are artificially regulated. We live in a society that is potentially always ‘on’.
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