Julien Comte-Gaz,
recomposed bodies and lives

Before an artwork by Julien Comte-Gaz, be it in an exhibition space or on the Internet, the eye lingers and is questioned. More than a century after their original print, Julien reconstructs and deconstructs old photographs to transform them into original pieces and bring the past to life.

Julien Comte-Gaz,

Artist :
playing it all the way

Julien has always felt the need to create. After his diploma in interior architecture in Toulouse, he goes to Paris to pursue in design at the Sorbonne University. To enter the curriculum, he has to start again with a bachelor of Plastic Arts, which turned out to be a revelation. Julien still talks with gratitude about the professors who pushed him out of his comfort zone.

An internship at the Galerie Dominique Fiat turned into a full-time job, which he kept for seven years. Not only did this formative experience familiarize him with the life of a gallery, but mostly, it offered him a contact with the artists which helped him assuming the status for himself. In 2017, he fully devoted himself to practice and never stopped.

 

© Julien Comte-Gaz

 

Maison Mère - Julien Comte-Gaz

Art and the human body,
inseparable from the origins

Julien’s appeal for work on the human body can be explained by the obvious : there is nothing simpler and more authentic than a naked body. The representation of nakedness has crossed times with an evolving gaze. Today, Julien offers a perspective among others by casting a contemporary eye on century-old bodies.

 

© Julien Comte-Gaz

Maison Mère - Julien Comte-Gaz

The encounter
with old images

It all began with Playboy editions left in Julien’s apartment by a friend of his while he was traveling in Australia. When he returns, Julien finds the vintage magazines. Seduced by their aesthetic, he begins drawing on the pages with Rotring pens, inherited from his architect grandfather. The weft is always the same : the tiny dark-colored circles become a mean of dressing up the bodies by tattooing the skin, during a process of meditative divagation.

 

© Julien Comte-Gaz

Maison Mère - Julien Comte-Gaz

Blurring
perceptions

The book of Philippe Jullian, Le Nu 1900, supplies the medium for his first cuttings and recompositions. Nothing removed, nothing added, everything displaced. It is how Julien plays with our perceptions.

Minimalist artists like Walter De Maria, Helen Pashgian and many others are a source of inspiration for Julien, in the way that they create, from simple materials, a sensual relation to the artpiece through a play of impressions and perceptions. In Julien’s work like at Maison Mère, all senses are solicited to better be surprised.

 

© Julien Comte-Gaz

Maison Mère - Julien Comte-Gaz

Anonymity,
a form of universality

Nakedness is not the only spectrum through which human beings can be apprehended in their most authentic and touching parts. Julien is also increasingly working on anonymous family pictures, thus saving them from a likely oblivion, loss or destruction. Behind a photograph, it is not unusual to find a handwritten note, more or less faded, carrying the weight of an individual story, hope or nostalgia.

 

© Julien Comte-Gaz

Maison Mère - Julien Comte-Gaz

A technique
close to surgery

Julien’s pieces are made up of 60 to 800 pixels, each 6-millimeters large. Patience, precision and preview are the key words to recreate an image coherent for the eye. The surgical approach to his work has led Julien to manipulate tools like the clip and the scalpel.

The slight mark hence left on each pixel creates a relief that, if we get close enough, allows to distinguish the technique from a digital creation. These details are like the punctum theorized by Roland Barthes, the imperceptible tear which appears afterthought, undermines all codes and floats a desire that goes beyond what can simply be seen.

Julien plays around fooling the eye in a double sense, both on the content of the image on the technique at hand.

 

© Julien Comte-Gaz

Maison Mère - Julien Comte-Gaz

At the age
of the Internet

Julien works on a medium from the past but moves with the times. His photographs reveal touching stories … to which social media remain impervious. His techniques allow Julien to sidestep the detection algorithms : all elements are there, in an unusual setting. 

Once they are mastered, social networks are a formidable work tool. Enjoy taking the time yourself to observe, unravel and be told new stories on Julien’s Instagram account or website.


© Julien Comte-Gaz

Maison Mère - Julien Comte-Gaz

Artist
entrepreneur

For Julien, the expression is not an oxymoron. The business aspect belongs in the career of an artist and allows the creative part to exist. Besides his next exhibitions, Julien is developing a collaborative project which he co-founded with Rebecca Bournigault in 2019. The exhibitions held aim at gathering well-known contemporary artists along with emerging talents. 

Opening his art to a larger audience included realizing smaller pieces which fostered a new field of creativity. It also includes making available online the photographs that Julien unearthed in auction sales and flea markets or bought from individuals.



© Julien Comte-Gaz

Maison Mère - Julien Comte-Gaz

Living
among art pieces

Julien wants to communicate and inform about art, but also share the feeling of having art in one’s home. To him, home is made up of the tangible and intangible that we build around us,  it is a place from which arises good energies. Art plays a part in this feeling : we live with it, we see it, we are moved everyday by the emotions that they convey. 

And because inspiration is constantly in motion, Julien regularly changes the works on the walls of his apartment. 

 

… Like Maison Mère, who undresses and dresses anew every six months with the exhibition of a new artist. Would you like to meet Julien Comte-Gaz and his artworks at Maison Mère ?




© Julien Comte-Gaz