Stephane Abitbol: Opinion

Stephane Abitbol

Artwork’s Title: Opinion

Materials Used: Acrylic, oil on burnt canvas, 2020

Studio Based: Brussels

Stephane Abitbol, Opinion, 140 x 180 cm, acrylic, oil, on burnt canvas, 2020

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

Generally speaking, my work wraps around the idea of a fight against materials, and image. The struggle against the materials is reflected through performative paintings, creating a tension between fire and acrylic. The burnt canvas – which is the weakest part – is supported by the painted areas. In that way, the painting has an additional function which is to provide support besides its visual impact.

The fight against the image translates itself into more figurative works such as “Opinion”. The tension appears but in a more symbolic way. The picture is deteriorated pointing at a form of delusion. The most fragile parts of the painting are voluntarily placed at the forefront, portraying a “fragile reality”. The intact painted background offers support, using painting as an illusion of structure.

My work’s narrative is created through looking at the often violent relationship between human sand their environment, which in turn is counterbalanced by the created illusion of softness in my paintings. My work’s narrative is created through synthesising in images ideas often revolving around nature or violence to which I respond in an emotional and gestural manner. Contradictions arising from this dialogue nurture a strong rhythm in the paintings. Similarly to overcoming hurdles, space as a notion is integrated through installations, objects or trajectories, resonating with the paintings.

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

 Tension, delusion, destruction, reality.

Would you use another three different words to describe the ‘Opinion’ painting?

 No choice, Ignorance, Escape.

How did you come up with this painting idea? Is there any story behind this painting?

This painting dates between November and December 2019. I had just moved into a new studio. I was going through an intense phase of questioning, on my choices and on my inability to agree with the overall direction of my work, similar to a conscience crisis. This painting symbolises exactly that, depicting indecision, ignorance, and escape, which are at the heart of the creative destruction underpinning my painting process.

Representing neutrality was a condition to address these feelings. This painting kicked off a new series, looking at nature and the relation of humans with their environement. It is an attempt at countering the ignorance and indecision I felt between confort and ethical principles.

What colour is used the most in this painting?

Light Blue as it allows for strong illusion and perspective.

What would be the best way to exhibit your work?

I don’t think there is an ideal way to exhibit my work. I try and think about ways in which I could bring to the spectator to a visual and spatial understanding as well as creating an immersive experience as was the case for the “Playtime” exhibition. I have also been able to create an immersive experience in a digital show thanks to Everyday Gallery, although I am more sceptical on the use of digital mediums to fully appreciate a painting. Nevertheless, it allowed me to create an exhibition that would be unfeasible in “real life” trough a digital immersion into a painting and I was very happy seeing the result.

How do you know when this painting was finished?

It of course depends on the painting. However, generally when I sense a form of equilibrium or tension, I know I am getting towards the end of it. Sometimes it also translates into how I act as I end up often destroying paintings I don’t like.

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

I work in Brussels, sharing my studio with an artist and friend Eno Ascain with whom we collaborate on projects such as “Incorporate the living” which was the closing exhibition of our previous studio. Eno Ascain, Côme Calmettes and myself thought the exhibition as a funeral or a “tomb” of the space. Our full current space is about 40 meters squared with an exterior space that we share. Half of my work takes place outside when I can burn or destroy my canvases directly on the floor. Assembling and paintings parts happens inside on my sole wall.

Additional Images

Stephane Abitbol, Groupshow Euro Neu Mode, exhibition view at Everyday gallery, Antwerpen, 2020, picture by Silvia Cappelari
Stephane Abitbol, Backlash, exhibition view at Groupshow Playtime, Brussels, 2019, picture by Edouard Pagant
Story Behind The Painting | Interview with Stéphane Abitbe
Stéphane Abitbol, Incorporate the Living , exhibition view, Brussels, 2019, picture by Côme Calmettes
Stephane Abitbol, Funambule, 140 x 180 cm, acrylic, oil on burnt canvas, 2020


All images are courtesy of the artist

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