About the Living Sculptures series (2013 to present) :


These new paintings flutter between lyrical abstraction and realistic representation. Populated by morphing figures and infused with a surreal sensibility, they often blur the frontier between the living and the inanimate. From the metaphoric to the illusionistic, I’m engaged and fascinated by the duality of body and spirit.

Aesthetically, I take inspiration from 19th and early 20th century painting: recalibrating the “Nature Morte” with the ability to breathe, gnaw and stare back or pushing the “plein air” genre to an almost annihilation of pure energy. At the core of the experience is matter’s fragility, its changing moods, and impermanent nature.

To construct these delicate tales of animism, I appropriate pieces of images found online by artists such as Edwin Landseer, Joaquin Sorolla, Salvador Dali and Edgar Degas. For me, returning to the past is an inspiring point of departure. Using photoshop as a tool, the various sources are altered and combined to create a new fiction that fits my intuitive needs. When the composition is locked then I paint the image in oil.

The ambiguous living sculptures portrayed in this new series delight in indirection. Like small porcelain figurines or gigantic monuments, they conjure up an atmosphere of unsettling possibilities.

As a document, they are also autobiographical snapshots that strive to elicit an emotional response.


François Escalmel