02 Apr Spyk – NEVER SLEEP
Du 02-04-2015 au 10-05-2015
It all started for Christophe-Gilbert Lequarre in 1990 with a trip to New York. It was while making his way through the streets of the “Big Apple” that the Liège-based artist, then aged 18, discovered the world of graffiti. It was a knock-out encounter that struck him like a revelation. As soon as he returned to Belgium, the young man assumed the pseudonym Spyk and went out onto the street to leave his mark there. While he produced a number of collective frescoes, for most of the time he acted alone like a free electron.
In 1995, the collector Georges Uhoda proposed that he produce paintings on canvas in order to show them in galleries. From that moment on, his artist’s career took a decisive turn. Spyk would go on to develop his style progressively until it became established as an unmistakeable trademark. After twenty-five years of practice, the rendering is more precise and more polished, but the artist has above all perfected a technique that is very much his own. Indeed, he reproduces photographs on canvas in exact replica, based on spray painting using an aerosol bomb. The light – be it natural or artificial – appears as a central feature of his work. By superimposing numerous layers of vaporous colour, Spyk succeeds in taming light in the manner of the great painters. The nuances thus obtained tend to produce palpable atmospheres similar to those conveyed in the canvases of American painter Edward Hopper. These contrasts help to reinforce the realism of the atmospheric scenes that are depicted. The mimetism is such that one can call the works of Spyk hyperrealist.
Through the exhibition Never Sleep, Spyk makes reference to the adrenalin that runs through graffiti artists’ veins when they go out at night to tag the walls and write on the windows of the public space. Beyond the clandestine nature of this practice from which he originates, the artist also pays homage to the effervescence of cities. The neon lighting, the wide avenues, the underground trains or patinated signs… Everything in the urban world fascinates and inspires him. Everything, that is, apart from the human body. His works are intentionally deprived of figures. Indeed, Spyk is more interested in the feelings and sensations generated by the settings and environments marked by the passage of man. His original compositions painted using the aerosol bomb concentrate on urban scenes, with the aim of reproducing hibernal, muffled atmospheres or nocturnal and artificial ambiences. The artist favours large formats, which allow greater freedom of movement. Finally, several canvases in the exhibition make reference to the impetus and infatuation that graffiti gave rise to via the intermediary of its appearance in and on the New York subways.