Fabien Mérelle's very precise and detailed drawings portray a dreamlike world where the artist's own imagination is staged in a fantasy setting.
His compositions are painstakingly and almost exclusively portrayed in black ink. Floating in an undefined emptiness evoking the boundless space of reverie, they seem suspended in space and time. And yet, their blunt realism is just waiting to leave the white page and tangibly join our world.
For his solo exhibition at the CCC OD, the artist takes over all galleries on the second floor with selected recent works depicting the human figure in a natural, or even wild setting. Fabien Mérelle often features as the protagonist, always wearing his striped pyjamas, a recurring outfit embracing the dramatic quality of the compositions. He uses this character to mirror reality, reflecting his parenthood.
The artist explores the various aspects of this theme with visual proposals that sometimes point to the harmony between nature and humans. This synergistic relationship between a species and its natural environment is sometimes seen in terms of freedom, but the artist also develops contradictory scenarios examining the idea of shelter, therefore calling upon the instincts of retreat and protection.
This topic is crafted notably though island and cabin motifs. Furthermore it is particularly in line with the place of creation and life that the artist has chosen, since the recurring settings in his works are directly evocative of the Loire, a wild river, with its characteristic vegetation, minerality and flowability.
Not uniquely restricted to presenting recent pieces, this exhibition is an opportunity for the artist to produce new works relating directly to the Loire Valley and using its key materials, limestone and driftwood shaped by the river. Like a return to origins, this artistic gesture is also a way of retrieving recurring motifs from the representation to provide them with a life of their own, rooted in reality.
This exhibition has been made possible thanks to loans from Galerie Praz-Delavallade (Los Angeles/Paris) and many private collections, for which we are very grateful.