Éric Simon: Au delà du réel

Works in the exhibition

Eric Simon was the art school kid who could do everything well. Grown up and highly capable, he is unlike most former experimenters in that he made restlessness and exuberance continue to work for him as an adult. His work has evolved (mutated one could even say) into a hybrid of classical and sci-fi, sincere and winking, normative and midcult influences. It seems to proliferate like a computer virus; new and strange equations of beauty are the result, almost as side effects. Its main strategy, which is to present the artist’s complex and ironic worldview, is everywhere visible but always difficult to pin down.

Just as it’s true that the subject of a sentence is abstract and separate from the words that identify it, the subject of a work of art can be distinct in tone from the expected meaning of its imagery or technique. Simon is an artist whose work makes finely explicit the irony that this gap leaves. When a given subject he treats is perpendicular to some aspect of its delivery, the consequence is the clash of opposed perspectives, which combine to create unforeseen results. Viewers of such work may find themselves amused in ways that are difficult to describe.

For Simon art is a form of knowledge; its open-ended commitment to depict anything imaginable, by any means available, is his constant if floating point of departure. He embraces his limitations, while insisting on an act of freedom, freedom that for him redeems the unknown origins of the images that he ‘sees’. For him, art is a behavior; in a way he is motiveless, without ideology or faith in particulars. He sees the process of image making as a kind of swerving from certainty, rather than a veering towards a more and more definite position. This searching activity is itself the knowledge his art seeks to embody: searching is finding, without stop. He tries to live always in a state of inquiry, where the multiplication of images, each unique but connected to the others, presents a statement about what already is, as well as a newly-phrased question. We, and he, may answer if we wish, and if we can.

For more information on the artist