«i saw the best minds of my generation…»
march 8th - april 19th 2015
Stéphane Ducret's approach leans on counterculture, psychedelic rock and the practice of tagging territory. Began as a series in 2014, Ducret's "HOWL" oil, oilstick and spray paintings textually capture the eponym poem by poet Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997). This text is considered to be one of the great works of the Beat Generation. The principal themes of this post World War II movement are: rejection of received standards, innovations in style, use of illegal drugs, alternative sexualities, an interest in spirituality, a rejection of materialism, and explicit portrayals of the human condition.
Graffiti writers use a variety of materials, but mainly, spray paint, to inscribe their name, symbol, or sign on the surfaces of their streets. Still heavily associated with gang activities, graffiti serves an underground function to claim and identify space, demarcating lines of ownership and belonging. In Ducret's hands, the spray paint is replaced by oilsticks to scribble a selection of Ginsberg's verses directly on the canvas (or paper). The tagger's aerosol can is nevertheless sometimes used, but very softly to paint light dots and blurry lines.
Ducret then partially or completely erases the text by using oil paint applied directly on the canvas, most often diluted by turpentine and washed away with pieces of cloth, like window cleaners or graffiti removers, when they are trying to leave the walls pure of tags, insanities and signs of rebellion. By doing so, Ducret produces a dirty image, a murky field, where nothing is clear, but where remains of the vibrant and revolutionary poem still appear, as they cannot be erased completely.
Both Ducret's material and almost monumental size paintings gestures toward the urban space of a wall, first occupied and covered by illicit graffiti but now partially erased in an utopian and desperate attempt to draw a sanitized society by politics and powerful conglomerates. The diluted oil paint leaves both a hazy, washed-out look and a swampy effect on the surface of the big canvases.more information