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Galerie LE FEUVRE Presents: Stohead “Recomposition” (Paris, France)

Posted on September 14, 2017

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Date(s) - 09/14/2017
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Galerie LE FEUVRE Presents: Stohead "Recomposition" (Paris, France)

Read from the press release below:

Solo exhibition
September 14 – October 14, 2017
Opening on September 14, from 6pm
In presence of the artist.
Christoph Hassler, a.k.a.Stohead, is one of these artists for whom painting is
a never-ending search. At the beginning of his career, 27 years ago, when he discove-
red graffiti, he was struck by a specific dimension of this practice: the tag, which is the
calligraphic aspect of graffiti. He discovered how to represent letters with a stroke and
to string the characters together one after the other. And as tag aficionados know, you
can a tell a good graffiti artist by the way he tags. Inspiration, movement, energy and
coherence are all what makes the beauty of the tag, which is often illegible. The creative
dimension of the tag is completely lost on neophytes who find that graffiti is artistic only
when it is “pretty”.
Yes, the tag can be aggressive. It is a signature left quickly on a corner of a
wall whose only purpose is to say that its writer was there. And it is meant only for
the artist’s peers: the public is not invited to decipher or like it. However, the tag often
takes its practitioners on to calligraphy. Fascinated by the many – infinite – possibilities
of representing a single letter with one or more strokes, the tagger can morph into an
expert calligrapher by dint of technical experimentation. Just as the graffiti artist is not
automatically a painter, the tagger is not necessarily a calligrapher. And talent alone will
not make an artist without hard work. Stohead has understood all this and has learnt
this throughout his career. Without ever giving up on the tagger/graffiti artist in him,
he rapidly decided to transpose his calligraphic universe on canvas. Today, with another
excellent graffiti artist, the Dutch artist Shoe, he is credited with the coining of the term
«Calligraffiti». However, unlike Shoe, and unlike most artists who started out as graffi-
ti artists and now do calligraphy on canvas – Stohead soon got tired of the egocentric
aspect of writing, preferring to dot his paintings with bits of songs or quotations from
books or films. Sometimes, he would even use a single word, written once or several
times, on a painting: ‘Intoxication’, ‘Over Over Over’, ‘NOW’. Depending on the envi-
ronments in which they were placed, these words could give different meanings to the
painting. During his initial experimentation, Stohead based his calligraphic work on the
impact of words as well as on the strong visual effect created by the contrast between
a plain, solid, dark or colourful background and a sharp, bright and animated writing,
obtained with the use of totally different basic colours. Warm and cool tones, black and
whites, very thick and dripping strokes made with tools created specially by the artist
that saturate a canvas with such a “calm” background with paint. …Impact, as always.
Impact was also used when Stohead noticed that after all the work done in his
workshop there were stains on the floor from the mixtures of the different colours and
inks that he had used during his calligraphic experimentations. He first took pictures of
these stains and later succeeded in reproducing them. Experimentation had coincided
with the fortuitous dimension to which all creators must one day adapt. By adding them
to his calligraphies, Stohead turned these stains into clouds of smoke, which finally be-
came the point where his letters started or faded away. Little by little, the sentences disap-
peared and the vapours filled up the paintings. After that, came the period of «Decom-
positions». A mysterious technique that gave an amazing result. Here again, impact was
key. Stohead took us into the heart of his fascinating paintings, as fascinating as watching
the movement of clouds or the effect of dilution: the intermingling of layers, transpa-
rency, matter and contrasts. Form and substance were there for spectators who wanted
to throw themselves into the works and project their mood and emotions onto them.
Nothing was imposed on the spectator. The resonance of the phrases and words had
disappeared. Stohead left the scene and gave full rein to the imagination. And then, still
for experimentation purposes and because nothing was final or to be taken for granted
since his departure, Stohead felt the need to come and push his clouds open. Maybe to
add a source of balance to them. Maybe to add recognisable and tangible shapes that
would stabilise the compositions. Because his work, from pure calligraphy, is a matter
of balance. Balance of letters in their sequence on the canvas, hanging balance of the
clouds and vapours that swirl from one end of the painting to another. Fragile balance of
a composition that combines the lightness of evanescence to the straightness of the lines.
Like the lines of a mark in a chart… playing with their clouds, these lines are reminiscent
of the black structures of Tinguely’s “useless modules”, that link elements among each
other without being the main attractions of the composition. Stohead gradually takes
us from Decomposition to Recomposition. Today, he is bringing the elements together.
Far from being a jumble where calligraphy, liquid or hazy effects and breaking line are
put together, Stohead is proposing works that have a common characteristic: the search
for a new harmony. It is a balance between his different works, all present in paintings
that come together to form the Recomposition. And paradoxically, it is simplicity that
triumphs here. The rapid movement, uses simple shapes in bright colours that materia-
lise hours, or even years of thinking, waiting and staring at the painting to find the right
movement. This is what Stohead is bringing to us here.
Jonathan Roze, preface of the
July 2017
164, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris
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