J. Fabien Mérelle
"L’arbre au corps"
“In my quest for realism down to the tiniest, unfathomable detail, I pushed meticulousness to extremes and lost track of the recreational aspect of drawing. The drawing we did just to fill the time, to satisfy an urge. The drawing that in just several strokes of a pen, could tell more than a six year old could say with words. I attempted to resume these lines that had been interrupted by time, without ruining them, and the goodwill of the child I was back then. I wanted the voices and writing to blend together, combining the high-pitched and the deep, the delicate and the heavy. In these kaleidoscopic relics, I was looking for gaps with a story to tell, silences full of questions. I wasn’t looking for a confrontation, a before and after. Using a misleading childish style would have been just as pointless. I dreamt of an exchange, a conversation in drawings. Revisiting childhood would be opening a pandora’s box of early worries and fears, it would be plunging into a mythology we had dreamt up in our dark bedroom, at bedtime. A mythology we had tried to flee upon the appearance of the hair and onset of puberty and the rest. But, instead of disappearing, it had come alive in my drawings, a theatre of conflict and desires, no holding back, now considered the tamed reality.” Fabien Mérelle
Fabien Mérelle was born in 1981 in Fontenay-aux-Roses. He lives and works between Tours and Paris. In 2005, he was awarded a grant to study at the Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, in China. He was already passionate about the art of drawing and during his time in China, he worked on Indian ink techniques.
In 2006 he graduated from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 2007, he became a member of Casa Velasquez in Madrid, and stayed there for a year. In 2008, he held his first solo exhibition at the Premier Regard Gallery. In 2010, he was the first winner of the Canson prize. He was added to the Beaubourg collections in 2012, thanks to a Guerlain donation.
His artworks drawn in black ink and watercolour found their meaning and inspiration in a scene that was cruel, ironic yet tender, from his own personal life, his loved ones. His drawings tell the story of a single character, always the same one, dressed in blue striped pyjama bottoms and a white t-shirt.
Fabien Mérelle uses his own body in this artistic world where everything blends together as one, animal, plant and mineral. Where tree bark cuts the skin, where man is likened to animals. A world where the laws of gravity, decorum and taboos no longer exist. He uses the white of paper, which holds a strong presence. From these empty sets emerge detailed scenes, as if the paper were a receptacle collecting the author’s thoughts, desires, worries. Drawing far-fetched ideas in a realistic way, the flip-side of the decor, another reality where Greek mythology and ancestral beliefs come together.
His work is represented in Paris at the Praz Delavallade Gallery, in Hong Kong by Édouard Malingue, in Madrid by Michel Soskine, in Geneva at the Wilde Gallery Geneva and in Antwerp at the Keteleer Gallery.