artist / participant
“You have to awaken people. To revolutionize the way they identify things. You’ve got to create images they won’t accept. You have to exasperate people, force them to understand that they are living in a weird world. A world that’s not reassuring. A world which is not what they think it is…” Pablo Picasso Damien Deroubaix, World Downfall, 2014, Courtesy l‘artiste et galerie Nosbaum Reding © Photo : Roland Michaud
Damien Deroubaix’s artistic practice features a great diversity of forms and techniques: oil painting, watercolour, engraving, tapestry, wooden panel carving, but also sculpture and installation. This variety combines with highly eclectic references, often cohabiting in his works in a spirit that is reminiscent of iconoclastic Dada montages. Motifs from medieval danses macabres mingle with evocations of tragic chapters from modern history; topical images are juxtaposed with mythology and folklore; the history of art and the metal music scene collide. His paintings are openly expressionist, often making reference to apocalyptic themes, and perhaps this is what makes them so timeless.
Pablo Picasso plays a singular role within these disparate ingredients: Deroubaix describes discovering the tapestry of Guernica, at the age of nineteen, as a defining experience, one which even instigated his artist vocation. He has not ceased to “converse” with the Spanish master, appropriating some of his motifs and themes and finding a model for his own work in the allegorical approach and commitment present in certain pieces. The Picasso et moi (Picasso and Me) project arose directly from this dialogue across time. It was presented for the first time at the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence in 2014-2015, and is extended here in an expanded version.
The exhibition at Mudam Luxembourg brings together fifteen works by Picasso, from the collections of the Musée national Picasso-Paris, the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), the Ministry of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, and forty works by Deroubaix in a presentation that highlights the convergence of two ways of looking at the world. It also gave rise to the production of an ambitious engraved and inked panel produced in response to Guernica, a way for Deroubaix both to pay tribute to the work that awakened his vocation and to “reactivate” it in contemporary space.
Damien Deroubaix was born in Lille in 1972. He lives and works in Meisenthal (France).