Nicolas Momein

Clumps and Bumps

May 04 - June 17, 2023

Nicolas Momein

Clumps and Bumps

May 04 - June 17, 2023




 

Nicolas Momein deploys a strange curiosity for everyday objects in various ways; along with an extraordinary capacity to make them escape their own definitions. For this exhibition, the artist has produced lamps by repurposing a textured rubber fabric used to fix tablecloths. Once cast, the long tubes carry the memory of this material, which is as unsuitable as it is appropriate for recapturing a form that might be associated with so many other models in the recent history of art and design. 


It is this playful and domestic distortion that enables Nicolas Momein to slip through a mouse hole into spaces that one might think are saturated. In this way, he side-steps all the traps of repetition in the field of sculpture and installation by means of playing against type. We see what he has seen, but not in the form he manages to provide…ever. 


For him, art becomes a marauder's vocabulary, a paper chase in the abandoned folds of these materials that are so technical that their use has deprived them of all fantasy. When they are made for a single purpose, Nicolas Momein adds them to the possible elements of a space to be invented. 


For several centuries in the Western tradition, painting has been quite clearly detached from any value of usefulness. So stretching canvases on frames to fix paint on them is almost a concept, but not for Nicolas Momein, not at all. He paints to dream of colour as a fluid saturated with pigments whose variations and textures might be controlled. As if by challenge, the artist seeks to return to the pure materiality of this practice. 


In this exhibition, he presents several new canvases that are part of a process of research begun some time ago. The game has a clear rule. In his role as artist, Nicolas Momein stretches canvases, in this case jute canvases. He applies layers of undercoat, oil paint, ink, acrylic and spray paint. He turns the canvas upside down, spilling the material, pushing it, squeezing it. The canvas is impregnated and the paint beads up in a liquid, coloured layer through the filter of the canvas. Once dry, the paintings are straightened and turned over, and the surface is now thickened by the peculiar structure of the beads of paint dotted over it. This medium, which should allow us to theorise the image as a starting point, is deflected by its very structure. The painting becomes more than itself by being reduced to its process.


Some brief sketches seem to induce us to imagine these canvases as a somewhat cruel metaphor for our backlit screens, the grid of the screen reminiscent of pixels. But, as always with Nicolas Momein, that would be too simple. The artist thwarts all categories by layering. 

It is no longer here a matter of screens and nor of graffiti, bas-reliefs, tapestries or rugs. And yet we seem to perceive almost all of this. We cross a temporal bridge that makes us hesitate between the visual texture of screen printing, historical photographic techniques or three-dimensional printing processes. In short, the painting leaks out on all sides. It escapes into a space-time that was not intended for it and in which Nicolas Momein follows it for pleasure and for fun. 



Samuel Gross

 




Artist : Nicolas Momein


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