Stéphane Ducret was born in 1970 in Lausanne (CH). He lives and works in Geneva.
The multifaceted nature of my practice encompasses oil and spray paintings, oilstick drawings, collages, photography and installations. Working in an extended range of media, from the traditional oil paint to the unconventional cardboard collages, I have tried to create an oeuvre that, while very diverse, is ﬁrmly rooted within a complex and coherent artistic strategy.
Often drawing upon autobiographical, art historical or sociological sources, my work could be referred to as
‘post-structuralist’ – a movement originated by Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, among others. The seemingly ‘incomprehensible’ visual range of my practice thus embodies
a schizophrenic, ‘post-everything’ state of perpetual fragmentation and synthesis. My practice involves a combination of philosophical enquiry and material investigation, with focus on the various theories on the elapse of time, the Beat Generation and psychedelic rock, which involves the seemingly endless repurposing, combining and recombining of diﬀerent techniques and media.
Of the disparate forms in my practice, the abstract paintings are the most recurrent. My most recent and large color-ﬁeld canvases (made entirely with oil paint and the use of pieces of cloth as brushes), invite an active, physical and intellectual engagement with the viewer and yet they try to remain open to interpretation. The paintings included in the « Time & Space Transcendence » series carry French physician Etienne Klein’s philosophical considerations on the multifaceted deﬁnitions of time. Their titles refer directly to the lyrics of my preferred songs by psychedelic rock heroes David Bowie, The Doors, Janis Joplin, The Velvet Underground, The Animals, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Black Keys, etc.
As I have long been inﬂuenced by the sociological implications of the Beat Generation, counterculture and the hippies, my aesthetic addresses numerous topics, including garage music, the process of achieving eudaimonia (Greek word for “happiness”), masculinity, violence, existentialism and liberty. My « Howl » series textually capture the eponym poem by poet Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997). This text is considered to be one of the greatest works of the Beat Generation, which principal themes are : rejection of received standards, innovations in style, use of illegal drugs, alternative sexualities, interest in spirituality, rejection of materialism and explicit portrayals of the human condition. The drawings and paintings suggest that layers of writing and acts of defacing eventually turn abstract. Words cease to have a clear order but in the end they never lose their original meaning and authority.
The paintings, collages and wall installations included in the « Open Windows on the Possible » series contain hallucinogenic and elusive visions, hinting at images, which never quite come into focus. Those paintings translate the construction of a picture, its physical attributes, the visual experience of looking at it and the possibilities of playing with and pushing open the origins of its meanings into a kind of architectural and painterly transcendence. The trajectory of this work is at once historically reﬂexive, very much of its own moment, and keenly self-critical. It is subject to the intertextual meeting of various discourses where I conceive the experience of life and art as a whole, multiple, deliberate, absolute, and energetic.
My « Doodles » paintings call up a psychic territory of the brain and the absently scribbled marks when coupled with familiar tasks, being nervous or bored. After a nine year period of digital painting, this work marked my return to the raw material of the paint, the canvas and colors in their maximum purity, reinforcing the question of how to paint, rather than what. How is the unconscious aﬀected by our consciousness? is a question that I asked myself in this series, observing how a simple napkin, the margins of a newspaper or a piece of paper, transform themselves as the material witnesses of this mental and emotional process. At the source of this series was the intellectual projection that allowed me to yield to the essential character of the child and his intuitions.
Through process, technique, scale, composition, and imagery, my work tries to accentuate the tensions and contradictions between the act of painting, the construction of a picture, its physical attributes, the visual experience of looking at it, and the possibilities of playing with and pushing open the origins of its meanings.
I was born in 1970 and was Gilles Porret’s pupil at the Ecole Supérieure d’Art Visuel of Geneva now called HEAD, where I graduated in 2005 with specialization in art history in 2006. I was granted by the Leenaards Foundation a CHF 50’000.- Award in 2003 and I had my studio in New York (1999-2001), Porto (2001-2002) and Buenos Aires (2006-2012). I now live and work in Geneva.
My work has been the subject of the solo exhibitions ‘I saw the best minds of my generation…’, Laurent Marthaler Contemporary, Montreux (2015); ‘Open Window (on the Possible) or : How I Stopped Worrying and Love the Present’, Laurent Marthaler Contemporary, Montreux (2014); ‘Stéphane Ducret + Bret Slater, annex14’, Raum für aktuelle Kunst, Zürich (2013) and ‘Primeros capítulos distraídos’, el mirador espacio, Buenos Aires (2013). Recent group exhibitions include ‘SPRAY#4 | Stéphane Ducret, Thierry Feuz, Daniel Orson Ybarra’, Spray Studio, Geneva (2015); ‘Printmaking by ECAL’, Musée Jenisch, Vevey (2015); ‘Bruit’, Villa Dutoit, Geneva (2015); ‘S.P.R.A.Y. - PAINTING NOW’, Laurent Marthaler Contemporary, Montreux; ‘Drive the Change’, 100plus, Zürich (2014); ‘Usine genevoise de dégrossissage d’or’, Forde, Geneva (2013); ‘Collection d’art de la BCV’, Fondation de l’Hermitage, Lausanne (2012).
My work will be the subject of my most important solo exhibition to date: ‘Because Tomorrow is Today’ at the Galería Ethra, CDMX, México, from April 14th to June 17th, 2016.
My work is included into the following collections: BCV ART | Banque cantonale vaudoise, CICG | Centre international de conférences de Genève, AXA Assurances, Fonds cantonal d’art de Genève, Fonds des arts plastiques de Lausanne, Hôpital universitaire de Genève, Musée de Pully, the collections of David Brolliet, Nicolas Torroni, Manuel Noriega (México) and Hôtel La Cour des Augustins.