For their exhibition at NuN, Yves Brochard and Claude Darras present their recent collaborative artworks. Started over 30 years ago, this work composed of painting and sculpture reflects their shared fascination for the bicycle.
This discipline embodies innumerable aspects, such as a jewel of mechanical perfection, or an emblem of emancipation. Brochard's and Darras's work focuses here on portraying contemporary bicyclists, portraying the exalted position they have gained over the past decades. For example, the yellow jersey has become somewhat of a cult object* and the Tour de France race grows yearly in popularity.
Brochard's and Darras's portraits, done in paint and sculpture, respectively, respect traditional modes of representation of a subject. The choice of the material, the finish, and the display method lead one to think about fundamental rules of portraiture; preserving the subject from obscurity and depicting them in a moment of glory. Brochard has devoted his recent series to female athletes, thus highlighting a neglected minority. Darras depicts more narrative scenes, by capturing the legend in modeling clay. Inspirational source material is picked from press photographs, especially images of poignancy, for example when the athlete stands on the podium, or during spectacular misfortunes or shameful revelations of malfeasance.
At NuN, bicycle is considered as a singularity where performance, competition and achievement and failure, weakness and trickery converge. Seemingly an allegory of contemporary society.
Brochard and Darras have collaborated since 1978. The duo's first exhibition took place in Lille, France in 1981. They took a pause from exhibiting to teach in the 90's and 00's, but re-emerged with a show in 2010 in Paris at Galerie Jean Brolly and in 2011 and 2013 in Lille at Camoufleur. Both artists work also as curators and write art criticism.
*As testified by the catalog's cover of "(my private) heroes" from the eponym exhibition curated by Jan Hoet at MARTa Herford, 2005
Image flyer: Jessica Varnish, Track Cycling World Championships 2014.
Photo: Giampiero Consoli
Photos: Pierre-Etienne Morelle