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Johan Van Mullem @ Loo & Lou Gallery, Paris

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Published on Mar 21, 2017

JOHAN VAN MULLEM
March 23 to May 6, 2017: Loo & Lou Gallery Haut-Marais and L'Atelier
April 4 to May 6, 2017: Loo & Lou Gallery George V
March 30 to April 2, 2017: ART PARIS ART FAIR, Grand Palais

Trained as an architect, Johan Van Mullem is a painter, illustrator and sculptor. His interest in art dates from his childhood, during which he tirelessly drew pictures of faces, a major theme in his work, going beyond portraiture.

Van Mullem instinctively captures the essence of humanity hidden in timeless faces that are barely representative. Shaped by successive additions and subtractions, they emerge from the canvas, incarnating the many faces of humanity.

A painter of movement and light, Van Mullem works with highly diluted printer's ink, which he builds up in layers. Because he must work quickly, he always paints his works in one go, with no retouching.

This accumulation of transparent ink reinforces the effect of depth on the canvas, which seems to vibrate with an inner light, as if backlit.

Van Mullem captures light and expresses an invisible reality, opening through his compositions a window on an early memory that resonates intimately with our senses, sketching the cartography of our deepest being.

Since the death of his father a few months ago, Van Mullem has been working in black and white. Through this mourning process, he explores new forms, and the human body occasionally makes an appearance.

At the George V gallery, the viewer comes face to face with these animated works through a series of color portraits, some of which were recently exhibited at the Ixelles Museum in Brussels. The Haut Marais gallery is showing the artist's most recent works in black and white. L'Atelier, a permanent exhibition space showing emblematic works by the gallery’s artists (located two doors away on the Rue Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth), is showing a series of large-format drawings in which the subjects are sketched with a precise, nervous, continuous line.

The exhibition exposes different facets of an artist with an unusual career and no attachment to a “school.” Wanting his work to mature before he showed it, he waited almost five decades before finally unveiling it to the public.

A selection of portraits by Johan Van Mullem will be shown stand A21 at the next edition of the ART PARIS ART FAIR.

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