Lucien Murat: Megathesis vs Vina

Lucien Murat

Artwork’s Title:  Megathesis vs Vina

Material Used: acrylic on sawn tarpaulin and patches, embroidery

Studio Based: Paris

Lucien Murat, Vina vs Megathesis, acrylic on sawn tarpaulin and patches, embroidery, 170 x 190 cm, 2019

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

I have created and written a series of texts in prose telling the myth of a hero named Magathesis. Throughout my work, I depict this narration: I start by drawing scenes, key moments in the narration, like a storyboard. Simultaneously, I try to incarnate this action by creating and drawing from a bank of patterns, characters and motives. Like in a video game, once I’ve got the characters, I place them in a 3D like environment. I take a lot of aesthetic inspiration from early FPS video games like DOOM or Quake, with the architecture only evoked, melted in the patterns coating the action. It all takes form in mixed-media destructured collages with pieces of printed tarpaulins and patches sewn together. My work is situated in a paradoxical relationship to materiality, with the constant evocation of a virtual world while always researching textures and relief.

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

Relief, textures, epic.

Could you share with us some insights on your recent work named ‘MEGATHESIS vs VINA’? Is there any particular story behind this new portraiture work?

It’s a key moment in the mythology I imagined: an epic, merciless fight between Megathesis and his mother Vina leading to her death.

Beyond the obvious freudian meaning of such a radical act, I wanted to illustrate  a concept that defines  us all : the expression of choices and how in the post-internet world, the concept of choice and free will  is altered by algorithms. The overuse of targeted marketing and the predominance of cookies to predict what we want, where we want to go, who we want to connect with has impared one’s ability to make informed decisions. We are not restricted by surveillance but by the abandonment of choices in the GAFAM reality. This impediment of choice impacts how we envision ourselves and how we shape our identity. Megathesis, as an avatar, a projection of oneself and their will, is a way to take back control on this new reality at the intersection of the physical and the virtual. Vina embodies this reality filled with machines and algorithms, killing her is the ultimate act of emancipation.

Observing your vivid and colourful body of work, it seems more than evident that your tapestries reflect a multidimensional background and perspective either in meaning or in materials. How many different art techniques or crafts can you possibly incite in your body of work?

I try to interpret this world, where we live amongst virtual elements that impact our day to day lives, and give it physicality. There is a big handcrafted aspect, with time consuming processes, cutting, sewing, piercing, painting and assembling all of this, multiple times.

As most of my references are virtual, my craft often consists of the physical interpretation of these virtual elements, with a long process of trial and error before I get a satisfying evocation of these visuals.

Bringing significant subculture aesthetics mainly derived from video games or comics, the idea of violence is predominantly depicted on your tapestries. Do violent sceneries mean something more meaningful that you wish to talk more about through your work as a young artist? 

I draw visual inspirations from video games and heroic fantasy but the mythology that guides my craft emerged from the need of narration central to the human experience. Violence in mythology is not gratuitous, or even an evocation of an ultraviolent state of life or geopolitical climate, but instead it is a way to approach the complexity of human behaviour and its fickleness. Mythology serves the purpose of telling the unfathomable, to explain what cannot be explained and gives us the keys to seize it and work with it. Often, writers, like Celine or Günter Grass, have resorted to grotesque images, at the frontier of comical and tragical, in order to express the human powerlessness facing indescribable horror.

Would it be easy to explain why many works of yours present asymmetric arrangements? Are you feeling more interested in denying more canonical forms and shapes in your work?

The fragmented, collage aspect of my work is part of the interpretation of the post internet era as a fragmented world: a split reality with everything happening everywhere all at once. We’re taken in a flow, an ever expanding magma of images, videos and text, taken, digested and spit out by platforms, moulded into new shapes and identities. I took inspiration from French comic artist Druillet, who pushed boundaries in that aspect, by having elements breaking boxes in comic strips.

What would be the best way to exhibit your tapestries?

I am not the biggest fan of white backgrounds so I like to create a decorum to maximise immersion.

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?

I had a fruitful conversation with Julius Hofmann who pushed me to develop more texture in my work in order to translate the complexity of the post internet world instead of succumbing to excessively sleek images. Artistic practice can be lonely so it’s good to reach out to get out of your own head. Hopefully we’ll be having a duo show together next year.

What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?

It’s a capharnaum. I tend to do everything all at once so there is paint, tools, pieces of tarp all over the floor. Each tapestry is part of a long and messy process.

Which are your plans for the near future?

I have a solo show at Plan X in Milano in November, coming up in June a group show in New York curated by Saša Bogojev, and hopefully next year the duo show with Julius in Athens.

Additional Works

Lucien Murat, Mer de Pneus en feu,160 x 190 cm, 2018
Lucien Murat, Cam3, 175 x 195 cm, 2021
Lucien Murat, All that is left of you, 115 x 105 cm, 2022


All images courtesy of the artist

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