exhibition Mauvais PLis
exhibition Houille !
exhibition Nourrir le monstre
5 June - 24 July 2010
Style and Matter
Killoffer is known through his comic strips, his illustrations in Libération and other magazines, and more recently, through his drawings shown in gallery Anne Barrault. From all these various contributions and thinking, you can see that this artist is able and knows how to develop very different styles, very different manners, which remain reminiscent of Killoffer, without being anything else. You can find elective similarities with other present or past artists, but Killoffer has been able to make his workmanship known without making a logo of it. He does not do the same thing again and again, which is noteworthy nowadays. Killofer knows how and likes to endanger his assets, the best way to advance and, consequently, not to be bored stiff spending one’s whole life carefully managing a small capital hidden under a mattress. As the saying is, he does not rest on his laurels.
One element links these piled up styles-manners and appears in many of his works : this is matter. The texture of the paper revealed by rubbing black lead, like Seurat; the nearly hyper-realistic reproduction of existing matter, like Vija Celmins (but with a sense of humour...), etc.
Killoffer’s last drawings reinforce this statement. They even go further since they are matter itself, for most of them : crumpling, elephant skin, lunar scenery, smoke. A drawing, on a large sheet of paper which has first been crumpled, offers organic abstractions pencil-drawn in the many folds. They look like skin in close-up. It is not very far from the padding peculiar to outsider art and its repetitive poetry. Real trompe-l’oeil on false trompe-l’oeil. Another drawing, false crumpling drawn on real smooth paper (1), echoes the latter. And this effect of crumpling stays in tune in another work, at the bottom of a hole into which disquieting (but smiling) worms rush.
It would be simplistic to limit Killoffer to this one area and claim him as the leader of the matterist movement. Killoffer is, definitely, the great caustic artist, with all his sense of humour typical of Topor. A few of his classics published in periodicals are shown in the gallery, such as this frightened ghost, an oxymoron, breathing out smoke, suggesting that all is not so well, Madame la Marquise (as the song goes); and this little fellow crowned with a mushroom cloud, the very proof that the world around him is not at its best either.
Killoffer is somehow as is said in the famous nursery rhyme : he has been here, he will not come back.
Philippe Ducat, April 17th 2010
(1) Let us note that representing smooth paper in trompe-l’oeil on some crumpled material is a seemingly impossible task : your turn to try...