Human Nature

Philippe Pasqua

December 30, 2015 - January 6, 2016





Space SBH is pleased to present a solo exhibition of drawings, paintings and sculpture by Philippe Pasqua to present the full extent of his oeuvre.

Pasqua focuses on life, death and sexuality.  In this series of work, faces and naked bodies materialise in color with sincerity, revealing the vulnerability of human beings: the human figure is shown with the free realism and intensity of expressionism. If Pasqua’s sumptuous oil paintings evoke the rich flesh of his models, in his drawings the outlines of human bodies soften and become like air. His paintings recall the work of Lucian Freud and Jenny Saville, but it only takes one look to understand the uniqueness of his style.

His canvases are brimming over with movement and energy, his brush strokes are deliberate, bold and furious. For Pasqua it is important to make visible the invisible forces. He is fascinated by human beings – our fragility, suffering and emotion. The piercing gaze of the artist captures the individuality, the essence of each person he immortalizes in oil. The creative credo of Pasqua : an uncompromising study of human nature and society .

Philippe Pasqua draws as much with his lead pencil as with his eraser. He draws as much with lines as by erasing them. There are as many pencil strokes as eraser strokes. This is how the subject is revealed, the white is as important as the black. Three techniques are always inextricably mixed: the isolated line creating the outlines, the overlapping pencil strokes and the hatching that produces effects of varying density, and the blurring that creates modulations of light. Invariably the eye explores these three techniques that blend in the image and yet remain completely legible and distinct. There are also traces of a finger, a hand, a face, a torso – the whole person is rarely depicted. The work and the eye are drawn to the fragment.

The face or body becomes halo, mist, smoke, line, vibration. Here it is not so much a question of flesh or matter as per Pasqua’s large scale paintings, but rather of form, outline and delicate texture to which splashes of paint or colored ink are usually added. The drawing is concentrated in the middle of the sheet and the paper around it is left white, virginal. And there is always the model’s gaze – which commands the viewers full attention – as inescapable as in his paintings.

Pasqua often depicts the butterfly which creature in Ancient Egypt was considered a symbol of the soul. This image never appears alone but is repeated as a multiplicity of souls together with his Skulls or ‘Vanités’. Recognizable as a cyclical theme in the arts over time, Pasqua has discovered the skull like a hidden treasure and only by “exploring the flesh at length that he has reached the bone truth and decided to take possession of it.” Sculpture has an important place in the work of Pasqua. The medium naturally lends itself perfectly to the drama and physicality of the artist style of working – the solidity and hardness of the skull contrasts with the delicate, ephemeral butterfly.

Since his first exhibition in Paris in 1990, Pasqua’s work has been extensively exhibited in galleries around the world including New York, Moscow, Hong Kong, Mexico, London, Hamburg. Pasqua is based in Paris and has emerged as one of the major artists of his generation being named French artist of the year 2013. His works sell successfully at auction and are highly collectable.


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