Johan Muyle was born in Charleroi, Belgium, in 1956. He lives and works in Liège and Brussels. His work has been exhibited in both private galleries and arts centers in Belgium and abroad, as well as at international contemporary art shows and biennials (Sao Paulo in 1998, Milan in 2001, Poznan in 2010 and Szczecin in 2012) and is held in public and private collections in both Europe and North America.
Between 1985 and 1994, Muyle focused primarily on assemblage sculptures that were animated using found materials. These works were exhibited at the Magasin de Grenoble and the Villa Arson in France, as well as in various solo and group shows in Europe.
In 1993, the artist decided to leave behind the intimate world of how studio and travel to ZaIre (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), with the goal of meeting and working with local artists and craftsmen. During various trips, he encountered Kinshasa artists such as Chéri Samba (with whom he continued to work in Europe through published interviews) and street children, who created craft objects in collaboration with the artist. These elements would later be integrated into sculptures that evoked the artist’s impressions of his African travels (the problems of the Mobutu era, looting, famine, AIDS).
Between 1995 and 2006, Muyle devoted himself to large-scale commissioned works. He created installations composed of monumental animated paintings executed jointly with ‘cine banner’ artists from Tamil Nadu in southeast India.
In 2003, this collaborative effort – with the poster artists whose traditional technique has now all but vanished – resulted in a 1,600 square metro fresco at Brussels-North station, entitled “Je the promotes un miracle” (I promise You a Miracle).
Since the end of 2004, Muyle has resumed his work with motorized assemblage sculptures – utilizing new technologies – made from objects found during his travels or online. These pieces take a uniquely critical, poetically distanced look at the human condition, religious extremism, the disappearance of collective utopias and current affairs.
Since 1991, Muyle has used sketchbooks to record his preparatory studies for objects and installations.
The unique nature of Muyle’s work – with combines aspects of “vanities”, carnivalesque and humanism – make him an inheritor of the Belgian artistic tradition and one of its contemporary representatives. His inclusion in the ‘Visionary Belgium’ exhibition, curated by Harald Szeemann at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 2005, attests to this, as does the participation in ‘ABC Art Belge Contemporain’ at Le Fresnoy arts centre, France, curated by Dominique Païni in 2012, and the acquisition of the large-scale work “Het zwarte schaap – Hommage à James Ensor ” by the Middelheim Museum in Antwerp in 2010.
Since 2006, Johan Muyle has directed the sculpture studio at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de la Cambre in Brussels.