I treat the theme of violence, but also the notions of noise, of movement, of money, of religion, of Good and Evil that go with it. Jochen Gerner, on TNT en Amérique.
Jochen Gerner (1970) is a major figure in contemporary French illustration and comic art. A former collaborator of magazines and newspapers such as Les Inrockuptibles, Libération, Le Monde and The New York Times, Gerner was also a co-founder of the experimental collective OuBaPo (Ouvroir de Bande dessinée Potentielle – after, of course, the Oulipo).
Since 2001 the illustrator has shown an increasing interest in graphic experimentation not far from conceptual art and his works have been acquired and exhibited by the FIAC (Foire internationale d’art contemporain), the FNAC (Fonds national d’art contemporain) and gallerists like Anne Barrault in Paris.
His very diverse production of comic books and illustrations includes a critical and satirical work about comic art (Contre la Bande Dessiné, 2008) – (“Against the comic strip”, 2008), a book collecting hundreds of small images, texts, quotes, excerpts and intended as a critique of language and a formal game on the comic art and its visual codes.
Another important work is TNT en Amérique (2002). Interested in the theme of violence in the American city, Gerner makes a detournement of the famous Hergé‘s comic book ‘Tintin en Amerique‘, blacking-out some of the original pages and leaving only a number of texts, signs and pictograms. In this way the symbols “appear like little urban lights, like flashing pop neon lighting in the violent obscurity of the American city“.
In Home, the work shown below, Gerner employs a process of similar negative writing. Working on the plates of a 2008 Us catalog of Ikea, the author “empties the spaces“, covering all the objects with variable tints of grey and leaving bare only the architecture of the spaces. All the goods originally shown isolated are similarly covered in black shapes. The process of re-reading of existing images and texts through covering and hiding, produces slippages of meaning and highlights “the unexploited treasures but also the areas of shadow“.
Interview on Du9.org
Review on The Hooded Utilitarian
Exhibition at Studio Fotokino