stephan balkenhol in two person show at fondation fernet-branca, saint-louis, france

22 May 2016
Fondation Fernet-Branca in Saint-Louis in northeastern France presents a two person show with Stephan Balkenhol (b.1957) and Philippe Cognée (b.1957). The exhibition looks at the relationship between the artists and at their practice and explorations into figuration since the 1980s. Both artists ground their work in reality, in the every day and in the landscape that surrounds them.

Stephan Balkenhol has been a central proponent in the revival of figurative sculpture in recent times. As a renowned sculptor, he is recognised not only for the technical prowess with which he hand carves each of his wooden sculptures, but for his continual devotion to exploring the role of the figure within contemporary art. The artist's unique sculptures combine anonymous human figures with tall pedestals, all hand carved from singular blocks, often of poplar or wawa wood. The figures emanate timelessness: simple, plain-coloured clothing and the confident yet unassuming poses of the everyday man.

Philippe Cognée has been working for over 30 years to examine the role of painting. His work is constructed from photographic images which undergo a transformative process. Through deconstruction and reassembly Cognée projects the original image onto a fabric or wooden support and then paints, stretches and distorts the canvas. He is recognised for giving new impetus and meaning to the medium paint, an often maligned art form in French institutional settings during the 1990s.

The exhibition runs from 22 May until 9 October 2016.

Stephan Balkenhol at Fondation Fernet-Branca