Conversation with Jean-François Le Minh
Jean-François’ studio felt like being in one giant work of art. The work flows seamlessly from canvas to sculpture and onto the floor and into the piles in the corners of the room. Everywhere you looked there was repetition of the same primary colors that he uses in his paintings. His work has a very tactile feel to it, you want to touch it. All the different textures jump out at you and drip off the surface like a freshly frosted cake. After my visit, I left with two main questions that I wanted Jean-François to expand on.
How does your choice of medium and industrial/commercial materials influence your style?
Do the shapes and textures you use come from the things you find like the different fuzzy/rubber gloves – Or is it the other way around?
The typical process of making has always been operating in different order and this is what is exciting about it. Observing everything that the eyes can grasp is the first part of the job. It can be anything, anywhere – Understanding the current path of my work means putting effort into the comprehension of my practice since its real beginning from when I was a student at Central Saint Martins. I surprised myself about how this logical development is operating at the moment within my work. From the materiality to its content – The connections are there and they keep surprising me. I found the colors and forms of the industrial material/objects very intriguing to look at.
They are often objects that don’t attract people because they only value them for their primary functional qualities. The glove is an exciting one as it has a large palette of colors, shapes and most particularly textures. The pre-made definition of the object is determining the inception of a long process of meditation and reflection towards the production of a series of paintings for instance. I think about the composition of a painting or the layout of a sculpture – Sometimes, the series of found objects will give birth to a sequence of experimental writings that I will later be using for my painterly practice.
How did your sculptural work come to be? Did it come out of your desire for your paintings to have more dimensionality and come off the canvas?
The relationship between the second and third dimensionality of my work is here but I wouldn’t say that I seek for a dimension aspect for my paintings. They compliment each other and also allow me to experience even more with the physicality of my work.
My current practice engages with the discourse surrounding the status of painting today and its atemporality in relation to conceptualism. The recent paintings push the boundaries of what constitutes painting and, specifically, what comprises art. Traditional oil paints are mixed with spray paint, acrylic, enamel, thermoplastic, American stationary and the debris of the studio: paper towels, gum wrappers and dried waste. A growing interest for the observation and often appropriation of found mixed material has been keys-components in my studio practice. They shape a certain kind of predetermined abstract physical formulation essential to edit the surface on the canvas. I have been concerned with what painting and sculpture can be or might be in our current society. I have chosen to start developing a language of my own. Composed of traces, marks, and interventions on the canvas’ surface. Through acquiring traditional techniques but also with an ability and aspiration to redefine and challenge some of the technicality in painting. By composing my own mixtures and constituting particular textures and colors. My painterly writing and its three-dimensional sculptural expansion are both the product of rhythmic action and a search for forms under the influence of time with the intention of directly engaging with a language of painting instead of an appropriation of its vocabulary. The last body of works worked its way into my studio practice, informing the rich materiality and musculature of my work — A perpetual striving and searching that pushes the work against limits and convention. This current series of works is a reflection of this moment – it vibrates the rhythm of a saturated capitalism society, our post-logical era. It is about focusing on the structure, discovering and molding pictorial forms such as the language of traces for its own sake.
See more of Jean François’ work here.