Monsieur Chat (meaning Mr. Cat) is enchanting the art world with the first solo exhibition Cat goes away ... Cat comes back at the Brugier-Rigail Gallery. The story of friendship between M. Chat and the two Parisian gallerists Laurent Rigail and Eric Brugier, only grows over the years. According to eyewitnesses, M. Chat's smile is contagious and its face could illuminate the urban grayness. In Paris streets, there is a constant search for M. Chat and it is difficult not to answer with a smile when spot it. That is the spirit, Thoma Vuille would like to recreate at the exhibition. At the show, M. Chat presents an installation, works on canvases and papers. For the very first time M. Chat brought us the ceramic sculptures as well.
Swiss artist Thoma Vuille is born in Neufchâtel in 1977 and passed his adolescence in Orléans. At the age of fifteen, he started practicing street painting, using acrylic. His grandfather, plasterer and then a house painter, died before being able to celebrate the admission of his grandson to the Beaux-Arts of Orléans in 1997. In 2000 M. Chat appears for the first time on the roofs of the capital. Thoma Vuille recounts: "The cat fell on us: a small Pakistani girl from a peripheral district had drawn a big simple cat with a giant smile. The idea that this little girl's drawing was everywhere was pleasant. It has been re-stylized while maintaining the freshness of the smile.” At first, Vuille managed to stay anonymous, but after the arrest in 2007, he was forced to reveal the true identity of M. Chat, so the two artists started to live their parallel lives. In March of 2016, M. Chat continued his world traveling in Hong Kong, with a busy plan to paint a mural on the Hotel Jen on Queen’s Road West. The Hong Kong piece is 13×13 meters and is one of his biggest artworks. After all these adventures, M. Chat arrived in Paris for the first solo show with the support of his friends from the Brugier-Rigail Gallery.
In his own words, the framework of Thoma Vuille’s artistic practice is “the city, its streets, its walls, and the gaze of those who inhabit it”. While painting the walls of Paris, Thoma Vuille is trying to “create the supporting story of the city for its inhabitants, participating in the creation and the exchange of a culture of proximity". His extraordinary connection to the city is both private and professional - Vuille often reflects his position of the street artist, constantly on the border between art and vandalism.
"I'm just a human who wants to express his humanity to other humans in unexpected places, and this make me a criminal. I may be a little naive, but I am persuaded that painting on a wall is not a punishable offense." Thoma Vuille - 2016, The World
From its foundation in 2001, Brugier-Rigail Gallery exhibits the selection of eclectic works, artists and currents that have marked or will mark the world of art. The tandem of gallery owners Eric Brugier and Laurent Rigail loves many artists and does not hesitate to show it. The aesthetic line of the gallery is atypical and includes urban art from its beginnings in Paris, young artists and different currents of the 1970s and 1980s art. M. Chat’s first solo show Cat goes away ... Cat comes back runs from 1st until 24th December 2016 at Rigail-Brugier Gallery, 40 rue Volta, 75003 Paris. The opening with the presence of the artist is set on Thursday 1st December at 6pm.
Featured image: M. Chat - Porte de Clignancourt, 2016 detail. All images courtesy of artist and Brugier-Rigail Gallery.