27.01.05 26.03.05

Xippas Athens Past

Yves Bélorgey’s work in its entirety focuses on the problem of modern architecture, a utilitarian and functional architecture that since Le Corbusier and The Bauhaus has expanded globally, resulting predominantly in the creation of large complexes of working-class residences. The facades are the constant subject of Bélorgey’s works – a subject that marks his interest in the public space as well as in the way that architecture influences everyday life.
Bélorgey’s passion for this genre of architecture, which he characterizes “revolutionary” because “it is meant to change life”, urges him to seek its tracks in a variety of countries where it has spread. He visits the suburbs of big cities all over the world from France to Brazil, returning with photographic material that constitutes the raw materials for large-scale drawings and paintings. The apartment buildings are rendered in great detail, free from the social prejudice that usually accompanies them. Bélorgey provides the maximum of information – in the captions of his works the city where the buildings are, the name by which they are known and their architects are mentioned meticulously. It is, however, clear that his paintings are not aimed solely at an objective representation achieved through the mere presentation of informative elements. His perspective is not that of the modern city planner who supervises space from a point of view that is both elevated and abstract. The experience the viewer draws is similar to his personal experience of moving in real space. The point from which one views the work is, in a way, the user’s point of view.

Although the specific collective architectural works are subject to standardization, the artist approaches the totality of their potential as particular cases and presents them as places where the “social body” is formed. Bélorgey observes these apartment buildings as monuments of an obsolete form of social planning, aimed at providing a minimum standard of comfort to everyone. He recognizes the political ramifications of painting and he attaches to it a specific meaning: drawing apartment buildings means working with space, population density and modern urban landscape. It is his own way of making a connection between two independent and unrelated works: paintings and apartment buildings.

At his first individual show at Xippas Gallery in Athens, Bélorgey is presenting 16 paintings from his recent work. His works cannot be seen as photorealistic, but they impose themselves immediately upon the viewer by their clarity and accuracy and maintain his interest through their enigmatic character.

Yves Bélorgey was born in 1960, in Lyon, France, where he studied, and he now lives and works. Within the framework of various scholarships and research projects on the subject of his work, he traveled in many countries in Europe, the former Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Latin America and elsewhere. He has had individual shows in France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, in Poland as well as in other countries, and he participated in numerous group exhibitions. His works form part of many public collections.

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