Simon Gaon & Emmanuel Debarre
Simon Gaon is an American artist living in New York. He produces varied painting series, from landscapes to portraits, including portraits of street people who are always very expressive and moving. As part of the exhibition at the BEGRAMPOFF gallery, seascapes should be displayed in conjunction with Altuglas sculptures by Emmanuel Debarre, French sculptor living in the Landes. Other series of paintings by Simon Gaon will be exhibited in different spaces of the gallery: Portraits - Series 'New York' (Times Square, East River, Hudson River, Brooklyn Bridge) as well as sculptures by Emmanuel Debarre in 'granite azul bahia' and in polished bronze. * Simon Gaon - Heir to Soutine (Xavier BUREAU) "You have to imagine painter Simon Gaon setting up his gear in the hubbub of the streets of New York, on a sidewalk corner of Times Square, on the 42nd Street, or in the middle of the rides of Coney Island. Kneading a thick material in a joyous furioso, he orchestrates the din of shapes and colours. The prospects oscillate, billboards and details are carried in a volcanic explosion, shadows and lights assault and intertwine with each other, colours sing, squeak or respond to each other like jazz instruments, up to the symphonic agreement that unifies all plastically, with a fever of scratches, streaks, veneers, gashes left by the jubilation of the fight. Instinctive painting. Passionate temperament. No theories, no –isms. The painting develops naturally, like a plant growing under the pressure of intuition. Favourite subjects: storms, fires, city lights, lush gardens, large fairground wheels and for portraits: misfits, outcasts, homeless, prostitutes, cafés’ philosophers, willing to pose an hour or two. Sometimes the fabric is finished in the workshop, but the first impulse is always given by the confrontation on the ground, bathing in the vibrations of life. Simon Gaon was born in New York in 1943, from a father coming from Jerusalem and a mother from Uzbekistan. His parents stay fifteen years in France before 1940. When Simon is 7 years old, the father abandons the family. Left alone with his mother, he suffers from dyslexia. A psychologist gives him pencils, which will decide his vocation. He was 14 when a painting teacher, who will become his best friend, helps him discover Vlaminck, Derain, Matisse, then Van Gogh, Soutine, Kokoschka, Van Dongen... "I like the emotional, the wild. I do not have a realistic character. Fauvists and Expressionists: I do not need anything else". Later, a trip to Florence, then, funded by a generous uncle, a few years in Europe, Paris, Amsterdam, Toledo, broaden his horizon. In 1976, he organized a group of outdoor painters, Street painters, with a record of fifty exhibitions in various schools and universities. His last series, about forty paintings, Lake and Sunset, a blaze of warm colours, is a spontaneous tribute to Claude Monet. "Painting is a European language ... not American", says Simon Gaon. "Rembrandt, Van Gogh, have a European vocabulary. My teachers were rejecting the "bogus" abstract American painting. Gaon is American insofar as he practises a kind of abstract expressionism without abstraction. And it is true that, with his taste for the work of the brush and matter, we can consider this European at heart as a heir to Soutine, a cousin of Krémègne and Kikoïne, a type representing the best of what is called the school of Paris". * Emmanuel Debarre - Emule de Giacometti In 1965, his meeting with Alberto Giacometti is crucial, it confirms his desire to devote his life to sculpture and drawing. After some studies of mathematics in Clemenceau high school in Nantes, he moved to Nice and prepares his first studies on primary colours. Debarre met Max Ernst in the Alphonse Chave gallery in Vence returning to Paris. In 1973 he began a series of blue monochromes that will be exhibited in February 1974 in the museum of the Abbey Sainte Croix des Sables d'Olonne. There, he met Italian sculptor Antonino Virduzzo, who invited him to come and work in one of his workshops in Rome. The six years that followed helped him discover the Baroque art and its very many draperies. Back in Paris he began a long work on sculptures of black marble from Belgium, then of blue granite from Brazil, azul bahia. His work will then continue on a contemporary material, Altuglas. Black, blue and transparency will always be the basis of his work.