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Leading French contemporary artist, Jean-Michel Alberola, creates part-figurative, part-abstract drawings, wall paintings, sculptures and installations. His protean approach explores the links between writing, painting and the spoken word, inviting viewers to decipher his works in their own way.
"The world is made up of small territories placed next to one another […]. A picture is like a single word. To make a phrase, you need many words, many pictures." Jean-Michel Alberola's work orchestrates disparate elements – big and little, the banal and the profound, the adult and the childlike, greatness and mediocrity, wise aphorisms and popular graffiti slogans – to create an ironic artistic universe that stimulates the viewer's perception and innermost thoughts.
His latest exhibition, organised by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès at the Forum in Tokyo, formed a natural pendant to his earlier show in 2006, at La Verrière in Brussels.
The Tokyo show featured large-format wall paintings created in situ, together with drawings, installations, sculptures and bizarre objects – small blocks of metro tickets stuck together with paint, the leavings of a population on the move. Or an anvil encased in a beautifully made leather sheath – a tribute to the craftsman's skilled hand, inseparable in the artist's mind from the power of thought.
With support from the Fondation d'entreprise Hermès – and complementing the unique, ephemeral wall paintings destined to disappear once the exhibition closed – Jean-Michel Alberola has created three permanent frescoes for the public areas of the new French embassy in Tokyo.