Born in 1965 in Port-Vila au Vanuatu (VU)
Lives and works in Marseille (FR)
Represented by the gallery Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois, Paris (FR)
Gilles Barbier’s luxuriantly varied work is hinged on a multitude on supports. Sculptures in organic or artificial materials, gouaches, drawings, paintings and other objects make up an artistic language that is both heterogeneous and coherent, close to a truculent Rabelaisian universe. Often using the metaphor of language, Gilles Barbier composes a fascinating hyper-textual device based on the principles of doubt, ambivalence and multiple meanings. Extremely plastic and prolific, his work questions the premises of knowledge and representation. Genuinely a project of deconstruction and reconstruction, he focuses on questioning, explores the slow progression of reason, the overlapping of ideas and interactions. Charged with sophisticated or perfectly inconsistent symbols, he explodes the linearity of the narrative and proposes a modular reading of space and time.
Gilles Barbier places his work within the real and nourishes himself with disciplines as diverse as aesthetics, history, the plastic arts, psychoanalysis, philosophy, the sciences and cartoons: “I try to make language alcoholic; I try to cram it full, to nibble at it, to chew on it. In my drawings or sculptures, I like the idea of emulsion.” He has created an entire gallery of worn-out heroes and clones, who he dresses up and stages with humour in composite installations where everything is organized in a joyful delirium of excess, imagination, laughter and derision but also of the profoundness and darkness of the world: “In a very embryonic way, I wanted to implement a strategy like that of snakes and ladders. […] I had made a little character that I moved forward every day in order to know in what way I was going to spend my time and energy on a daily basis. […] The only way to advance came to me by way of cloning in a theoretical manner. Therefore I wanted to set up a faithful representation of this idea of ‘identically different’.”