Yoan Mudry graduated from the Haute école d’art et de design, Geneva, in 2014. Since then, he has been developing a theory of image saturation, excess information, and the multiplication of narrative inputs that run through our daily lives. He responds by combining, reworking, and layering various sources – images and texts taken from the internet, comics, cartoons, references to art history, and so on – in a varied corpus that consists largely of paintings, alongside sculptures, performances, videos and installations.
The series Reflections on Painting, begun in 2021, revisits the art of portraiture. The canvases all share a similar monumental format, composition, and hyper-realist style, each framing a face staring out at the viewer against a white background. Mudry works from photographs found online, projecting them onto the canvas, fleshing them out in acrylics, then reworking them in oils. The lower edge bears a white strip featuring a quotation in black about painting. The words remain anonymous; Mudry reformulates them and arbitrarily matches them with the subject of the portrait.
The models he chooses are explorers, male and female, who navigate “between worlds”, as he explained in a 2022 interview. The series currently features Neil Armstrong, Frantz Fanon, E.T., and, here, the famous British animal behaviourist and anthropologist Jane Goodall. She is best known for her work mediating between humans and the animal world, particularly chimpanzees. The words attributed to her – “Easier to change ideologies than painters” – has no immediate relevance for her career, creating an ambiguity between the free association of word and image. The elements, stripped from their respective contexts and reassembled haphazardly on canvas, reflect a form of divided attention, grabbing scattered fragments from a constant flow of references and news updates and putting them together at random.
Jill Gasparina (éd.), Comment peut-on être (du village d’à côté) persan (martien) ?, cat. exp. Lausanne, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, coll. Jardin d’Hiver no 1, 2021.
Roxane Bovet, « Yoan Mudry. Dirty like a smiling fish », texte de présentation, exposition Yoan Mudry, Bâle, Galerie Nicolas Krupp, 2014, disponible en ligne: https://www.nicolaskrupp.com/exhibitions/2014-07-yoan-mudry