The explorations of cultural identity in the contemporary moment are an often phenomenon present in the art practices. That, of course, is an effect of the globalization and, some would say, cultural colonization. Nevertheless, such a conclusion has to be balanced in regards to one’s approach and a concept of the work.
The work of L’Atlas, for instance, is a really good example of how an artist can articulate cultural heritage in a specific environment and deal with the blurred notion of cultural identity. At the invitation of Galerie Martine Ehmer, this burgeoning artist has released new work which is going to be shown at the upcoming exhibition Eternal Signs.
Starting from calligraphy, Jules Dedet Granel aka L’Atlas has managed to establish a peculiar and rather sophisticated practice through which he devotedly explores the complexities of the pictorial language.
The former experience of exposing his works in the public sphere has enabled him to experiment with various forms of fonts, writing and the very meanings of sings.
The abstraction and geometry present in the work of L’Atlas are well supported conceptually since he is focused fully on the explorations of heritage in regards to the ancient forms and the traditional crafts.
The works in the upcoming exhibition were actually released at the residency. Namely, in the summer of 2017, L’Atlas spent some time at the island of Tinos in Greece, within the Contemporary Art Biennial of Mountados. The proposition of the organizers Mireille Liénard and Philippe Fraisse was for the artist to release the in situ work.
Deeply inspired by the ancient Greek legacy and the white marble as the material typical for the island, L’Atlas decides to produce a series of panels, or more precisely, reliefs which should represent the cryptogram as a whole.
By inscribing his name, the artist tends to examine what an artifact is; furthermore, he poses a question of whether cultural heritage can be a universal value, regardless of the borders, nations, and identities.
Besides the apparent interest in the ancient traditions, L'Atlas has managed to emphasize the wide array of social and even political implications with this commissioned work. The reliefs make us wonder how we relate to the archaeological relics, if we find them strange and unfamiliar in a rendered and digitized reality we live in.
These outstanding series of L’Atlas were prolonged by the intervention of choreographer and dancer Lorenzo De Angelis and were followed by a work around stamping and rusted metal works.
Eternal Signs will be on display at the Galerie Martine Ehmer in Brussels from 26 May until 1 July 2018.
Featured images: L'Atlas - The carving process. All pictures were taken by L'Atlas during his journey in Greece, courtesy Galerie Martine Ehmer.