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05 May 2014

Julien Spianti - 'L'homme est un homme pour l'homme' at Galerie d'(A), Lausanne

© Julien Spianti : L'homme est un homme pour l'homme, 2014 - oil on canvas, 162 x 195 cm

JULIEN SPIANTI - 'L'homme est un homme pour l'homme'
Galerie d'(A)


JULIEN SPIANTI's EXIHIBTION 9 May - 14 June 2014 Opening : Thursday 8 May - 6pm - 9pm Opening time : Mon, Tue, Fri 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-17:00, Thu 12:00-19:00, Sat 14:00-17:00

Jacqueline Bettinelli
+41 21 311 35 01

Galerie d'(A)
Avenue du Léman 20
1005 Lausanne

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From 9 May to 14 June 2014, Galerie d'(A) presents the first-ever exhibition in Switzerland devoted to the works of the French artist Julien Spianti. A recent collection of twenty paintings and works on paper entitled L'homme est un homme pour l'homme. In a grave and mocking tone, the artist twists the celebrated phrase of Plautus, 'Homo homini lupus' ('Man is a wolf to man'), taken up by Hobbes in the eighteenth century. For the artist, 'The state of nature' referred to by Hobbes is an accurate description of our present-day world. Centralised power, which offered the promise of maintaining a balance between each individual's desires, seems less capable than ever of holding in check the harm which individuals inflict on each other to achieve their ends. Substituting man for wolf in the original phrase is to revert to a radical, non-figurative meaning. 'Evil,' Spianti affirms, 'comes from the fact that our most dangerous predator is ourself.'

The work of Julien Spianti may be described as a typology of family relationships which serve as the narrative material for identifying sources of blame and discord. This transformed quotation is the point of departure for several series of works which include a collection devoted to family meals. In this catalogue of tables' scene, the artist brings out the ambiguity of the family ritual where sharing mixes with discord, cheerfulness with boredom and pleasure with obligation. In an interview, Spianti confesses: 'The family meal is fundamentally trench warfare. Entrenched behind our plates, armed with metal cutlery, barricaded behind the table, we exercise diplomacy but we deal and also receive blows…'

The sometimes harrowing atmosphere of his paintings, in which brutality emerges from beneath the strictly codified rituals and their closed proceedings, evokes Austrian film-maker Haneke or Scandinavian directors such as Lars von Trier and also Vinterberg, with whom Spianti claims an affiliation. Decomposed and obliterated faces – the grinning almost grimacing expression of the figures becomes a leitmotiv here – haunt his images, skilfully painted in grisaille on both canvas and paper. There emanates a grave, nostalgic tonality, that of the chromatic range of memory and disappearance, like an old photo bearing silent witness to stories which have sunk into oblivion.


Born in 1982 in Chartres, France. In 2004, Julien Spianti obtained a Master in philosophy and aesthetics at Sorbonne (France). Reading Rilke convinced him to devote himself to art and creation and to abandon his academic studies. He then makes several short experimental videos, writes short stories and organizes his first personal exhibition of drawings inspired by the metaphysical theories of Leibniz. His artwork uses various techniques and is strongly inspired by his literary and philosophical culture, with mythological places and biblical characters that are similar to those of contemporary history. He exhibits in international fairs, with a « One Man Show » at the Contemporary Drawings Fair « Art on Paper » for Art Brussels (Belgium), the 50th Fair of Contemporary Art in Montrouge (France), the Arte Fiera (Italy), Scope in Miami (USA). In 2011, the art Magazine AZART (n° 50) writes a beautiful article on his work. In 2012, Julien Spianti participates at the Chic Design Art Fair, in a One Man Show in Paris and he also receives the Marin Prize of la Ville d'Arcueil (France). Spotted first by the Marie Vitoux Gallery in Paris, he exhibits also at regular basis at Galerie C (Neuchâtel, Switzerland) in collectives and will exhibit at Fred Lanzerberg Gallery in Brussels in September 2014 and at Rosenfeld Porcini Gallery in London (UK). He lives in Paris (France).