The painting of Thierry Falisse is figurative and stamped with a certain realism, because of its facture, its relation to photography and its subjects, often taken from everyday life. Nevertheless, reality appears there more as a source of inspiration than as a completion in itself. The original images, sifted through the screen of intimism, become a pretext for painting. Art and reality thus meet in a fertile and existential exchange. These last ten years of work have seen him pushing his technique to extremes and committing himself to the path of a certain letting-go, open to quiet breakaways and making light of the accidents that are particular to the medium. Thierry Falisse maintains a voluntarily ambivalent relation with the canvas, where risk-taking flirts with control. Likewise, his thematic obsession with memory has really over this same period. Starting from an attempt to narrate death, as far as this can be done, it has been progressively enriched by an encounter with a culture, that of his origins. The tale of his background has thus gained substance: absence, exceeded, has been transformed into the rich soil of a love story with multiple faces.
This evolution can be considered by the measure of his artistic career. Three solo exhibitions marked these changes of course (although in a disordered manner): the first terrain investigated by Thierry Falisse is that of mourning. For several years, he commits to images, in grey tones and beneath a particular whiteness, the brutal death of one of his brothers. The grand finale of this work was the exhibition Reconstruction. Meanwhile, another approach opened up and saw his first experimentations: for one exhibition, the artist designs an installation based on family archives, essentially photos and videos, realized by his father in Seoul, at the start of the 1950s. On this occasion, the very objects are side by side with the works as tangible traces of the pictorial inspiration. Five months later, he brings together a few initial paintings produced at the commencement of these same recently discovered archives. They are, at this time, the fruit of a new desire, that of wanting to know more about his origins, that of discovering the Korea that he knows only through the filter of images and words. The artist takes a new turn: personal genesis is not only a motif anchored in the past, but becomes an engine of discovery. The exhibition that is being put together at the Yoko Uhoda Gallery could well be the grand finale of this work.
In a few words, here is the story: in 1950, the father of Thierry Falisse leaves for Korea, where he is to stay for three years, until the end of the war. In order to get there, he has just one contact, a priest living in Seoul. Once there, peacefully following an armed battalion, he starts to gather food scraps and redistributes them to populations in hardship. Progressively, he manages to bring together various aid workers and set up a dispensary and an orphanage. It is in this context that he meets his future wife, the mother of Thierry Falisse. This story has somewhat the effect of a legend, an original myth which the artist set out to trace. He went to the locations of snapshots now familiar from having successively held them in his hands and viewed them. He returned from his journey with new images, the prolonging of the myth, of his story of which he is the privileged observer.