George Rouy on His Carnal, “Difficult” New Artwork Exhibition
Issues of life, loss of life, love, the physique and the soul are all current in George Rouy’s startling new exhibition at Almine Rech in Paris. Right here, the British artist talks about how he first fell in love with artwork, and why his work should “vibrate”
George Rouy’s work, normally bursting with carnal need and vitality, takes a distinct tack within the closing portray featured in his new solo present in Paris. In Stars Beneath my Ft, a ghostly determine melds into an summary panorama, succumbing – or suffocating – beneath vigorous swathes of colored paint, whereas a pink haze – a soul, an aura – drifts skyward. “That is the closest to a loss of life portray I’ve ever made,” Rouy explains. “It’s in all probability the heaviest portray [in the show], possibly probably the most difficult. However I feel the entire present is difficult … it’s a bit full on.”
Stomach Ache at Almine Rech is Rouy’s first ever solo present in Paris, and gathers collectively over ten work and one sculpture – much like the one pictured within the artist’s portrait – which he made throughout the previous 12 months. Issues of life, loss of life, love, the physique and the soul are all distilled onto his frenetic canvases through lurid colors, Richter-esque blurs and orgy-like tableaux. In particular person the day earlier than the present’s opening, Rouy is nearly as vibrant as his work, his hair dyed turquoise to match his eyes, and his mouth a metallic blur of gold grills.
Initially born in Kent – he now splits his time between the quaint British county and Paris – Rouy’s path to changing into an artist is a well-recognized story. Preferring drawing over academia as a toddler, he was supported by an artwork instructor in secondary college and – maybe extra surprisingly – his dad and mom, who he says are staunchly “pro-art” (Rouy’s siblings, Elsa and Alife, are artists too). He remembers a life-affirming journey to the Saatchi Gallery in London together with his father when he was 9 years outdated. “I fucking fell in love with artwork. It felt such as you have been in a bloody funfair slightly than the artwork exhibition,” he says, citing the “wild” work of the Chapman brothers and Chris Ofili and Damien Hirst. “I fell in love with the expertise … it was so unusual. That was a tremendous time for British artwork.”
After graduating from Camberwell School of Arts in London in 2015, Rouy attracted an art-world following for his huge, spectral work of nude, balloon-like figures in pink and crimson, which have been haunting of their otherworldliness. In 2021, nonetheless, his artwork underwent a seismic stylistic shift. After seeing a sequence of unsettling dance items by choreographer Sharon Eyal, Rouy swapped his spongy type for work that flirted between figuration and abstraction, favouring chalkier colors which turned increasingly more garish as time went on. “Once I noticed Sharon’s items, it was a concentrated expertise that basically hit me exhausting,” Rouy advised me earlier this 12 months. “It was like the final word type of what I wished to attain or what I cherished about artwork … it was all about an intuitive response, an emotional factor, not mental.”
The identical may be stated in regards to the work in Stomach Ache, that are guided by feeling above all else. “Plenty of the works are very private, however they’re additionally not on the similar time,” says Rouy. “I feel it’s vital that they’re not autobiographical. There must be sufficient area in order that the viewer can enter it and never simply assess it as these tales, as a result of they’re not tales. They’re nearly like symbols.”
The figures in his work are principally lifted from discovered imagery, with the physique as a central concern; like Francis Bacon, Rouy typically “signposts” bodily anatomy, lifting out jaws, hearts and genitalia in graphic, cartoonish strokes. “I actually get pleasure from this one,” says Rouy of Hearth within the Head, a milky portray of 4 figures clutching at each other, “as a result of it’s bought stress, it’s bought romance, it’s bought a little bit of violence. And a screaming head.”
Music can also be an integral a part of the artist’s follow; he begins his mornings within the studio listening to techno to remain awake, after which progresses to pop and punk. “I like each sort of music,” he says. “I discover it very exhausting even strolling down the road with out music. I get fairly delicate and overwhelmed simply strolling, so music focuses me – particularly whenever you’re portray.” His love of music is evident within the work, which appears nearly to function at the next frequency, shimmering and rhapsodic. Of his work, he says he’s “at all times desirous about the power. All of it must form of vibrate.”
Has shifting to Paris modified the best way Rouy works? “I can breathe much more by way of my follow,” he explains, citing the meals, the drink and the late night time bars on provide in Paris – a welcome respite from portray. Plus, Faked Actual – a gargantuan portray of a reclining nude that options each shade of pink underneath the solar – references Édouard Manet’s sensual Olympia, which hangs close by within the Musée d’Orsay. “It’s exhausting typically, since you’re making work however on the similar time you’re keen on work, so there’s at all times influences, nevertheless it all comes out in a really pure manner,” says Rouy of the artwork historic hyperlinks to be made between his work and that of others. “That’s the great thing about it. That’s the great thing about life. Hopefully, my work get up in relation to every little thing else as a sure distinctive expertise. Hopefully, they’ve a presence. I simply love portray.”
Stomach Ache by George Rouy is on present at Almine Rech in Paris till December 22.