Jacques Samuel : A virtuosic navigator of dreams…
Without offending contemporaries or current schools of thought, Jacques Samuel* rebels against all forms of classification. He is a constant, original creator. An artist out of frame.
He could have chosen to follow in the footsteps of Fernand Legros, so knowledgeable is he in the workings of the paint brush… But to him, copying is boring. Instead, he plays and interprets. His concept? "Fashion designers and creators uphold an innovative function in society. Not unlike the role played by trendsetting grand masters spanning from Masaccio to Ingres, and Raphaël to Picasso.” Thus the inspiration for his series of portraits that mix the spirit of a painter with that of a fashion designer; Anne-Marie Beretta in the manner of Piero della Francesca, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac according to Titian, Jean- Paul Gaultier Botticelli, Kenzo inspired by Gauguin, Christian Lacroix from Toulouse-Lautrec, Claude Montana from Rembrandt, Paco Rabanne from Velasquez, Sonia Rykiel from Klimt, Chantal Thomass from Modigliani ...
For extra authenticity, he uses the techniques associated with the master in question and raw materials from the painter’s era. Interpicturality offers a challenge, and therefore stimulates. He has encountered the great masters of painting and found their corresponding designer through the centuries. Thus he affirms his virtuosity, his artistic empathy and his taste for creation.
Waving through Time and Space
But Jacques Samuel is not the man of an idea. He reinvents genres: when abstracting geometric lines in his collection Figures, his depiction of ghostly background characters, drowned in a diluting haze, integrates the human being into a cosmic universe. The confined space of the canvas overflows with lines fleeing out of frame, creating an impression of infinity reinforced by low angle perspectives, often causing a sensation of disorder. The human being, imprisoned in a cocoon between heaven and earth, diminishes. Losing himself in the infinity of the universe.
The perfection of execution between the riches of overseas, symbolising the divine, the spiritual, the dream and the grids of curves in different matters of which we can feel the touch, establishes a clear border between the marks of human activity and the depths of the cosmos. Through Figures, Jacques Samuel invites us on a vertiginous journey of exploration between land and atmosphere. Suspended at a point, towards the unlimited, the unfathomable. An anxious ecstasy, a work of truly evocative power.
Then comes his Tronies collection. Faceless sections. Paradoxal ? “I focus both on the gesture at the origin of the line, from which I build an echo of architecture and on crowds of strangers elected to a reconstruction, a second life. They take place at the center of my image. The subject of their actions having disappeared, they are suspended by their simple gestures. Tronies, because I want them without identity.”
Just as suggestive as Figures, Tronies takes shows us an explosive universe of bright colours set to a dark background reminiscent of Haitian painters. The intertwining lines unfolds out of the framework suggesting, by this dynamic condensed in an exotic world, the evocation of the fantasised universe of Douanier Rousseau, as in the series “Hana-Bi". The shimmering colours of Figures, the perfection of lines, curves, movement, and the sensation of matter that emerges are totally striking. Leaving the viewer to ponder: ‘is it a photo..?’ No, it is the prodigal virtuosity of an artist who has always wanted, in the figurative as well as in the abstraction, an absolute master of the technique. Transporting us towards the world of the creation, the beautiful, the dream. A dream without end… More about Jacques Samuel
* Pseudonym of Samuel Salloum