Manuel Mathieu offers exhibition at Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion

Manuel Mathieu: The End of Figuration is the latest exhibition at Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion (February 17-May 27).
Manuel Mathieu - Photograph Daniel GurtonManuel Mathieu - Photograph Daniel Gurton
Manuel Mathieu - Photograph Daniel Gurton

Spokeswoman Kitty Malton said: “In February 2024, the De La Warr Pavilion will present Manuel Mathieu’s first major institutional presentation in Europe.

"Manuel Mathieu (b 1986, Haiti) is a multidisciplinary artist working with painting, drawing, ceramics and installation. His work investigates themes of historical violence, erasure and cultural approaches to physicality, nature and spiritual legacy. Mathieu’s interests are partially informed by his upbringing in Haiti and his experience emigrating to Montréal at the age of 19. Freely operating in between and borrowing from numerous historical and artistic influences and traditions, Mathieu aims to find meaning through a spiritual mode of apparition.

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“Through his work, Mathieu has developed a distinctive abstract visual language, used to create phenomenological encounters that confront our didactic traditions. Amorphous forms vacillate and dissolve into one another, creating boundless landscapes. The vibrational effect of his work elicits physical and emotional frequencies that offer alternative methods for navigating the world.

“This exhibition focuses on a new series of paintings and a site-specific fabric installation reaching through the centre of the gallery. As a gateway that can issue forth alternate modes of reality, Mathieu harnesses the power of abstraction to create an installation that shifts from two to three dimensions across painting, ceramics and fabric. This mixing of mediums and hybrid thinking is underpinned by a provocation: how might we conceive the end of figuration within art making so that what we see in a work is only that which we wish to find? In the posing of this question, Mathieu simultaneously highlights art’s inevitable failure to capture reality alongside its potential to be an illuminating vehicle for processing our past and present experiences.

“In attempting to represent that which is often unrepresentable – the emotive, intimate, violent, and chaotic energies that charge our everyday experiences – Mathieu’s works are rendered as apparitions that crystallise and dissipate in the moments of our looking. The role played by the viewer in activating each artwork is key which are released into the world by the artist as a series of ephemeral, yet infinite, invitations.”

Mathieu studied visual and media arts at the University of Quebec, Montreal and obtained a masters in fine arts from Goldsmiths College, London in 2016. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Owens Art Gallery, Sackville, Toronto (2023); K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong (2023); Longlati Foundation, Shanghai, China (2022); National Gallery of Alberta, Alberta, Canada (2022) and he has participated in many group exhibitions.

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