Rectangle, Est. 2012, Brussels-based
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Cult cartoonist, rebel and iconoclast, Pierre La Police is a contemporary artist defying classification. His work is sourced, and finds critical power, in the narrative processes of comic strips, and more generally in the formal aspects of media spin and popular culture.
For Rectangle, PLP puts forward an image that originates from a series of 12 prints, enlarged for a public space setting and offering the passer-by as much an opportunity for reflexive questioning as for a smile.
The result of the most careful printing work, each 62×40 cm-formatted board develops the humorous universe of Pierre La Police, an uncategorizable yet recognisable artist. The images either focus on an incongruous detail (hairy yellow boots) in the style of a movie close-up, or on a ‘malfunctioning’ cutaway (a gangster where neither head nor feet are captured but only his middle), or a scene straight from an obscure cartoon strip (a low angled shot of a man proclaiming “what am I doin’ here?”). Some boards portray a surreal world: a man’s head fluttering around a smoky cartographic landscape, a fixed grin with exaggerated teeth evoking nightmarish scenes, a hybrid form hesitating between the animal and mineral kingdoms. The strange frames disrupt representations that are no less so.
Worrisome (a doctor leans on a deformed being who asks “Am I going to die?”), situations quickly become grotesque or mysterious, laughable in their perplexity. Boards resting on unstable affects create an inimitable atmosphere. Absurd details conspicuous in their density, make one think of David Lynch, but with Pierre La Police tension turns to a rare kind of fantastical, off the wall comedy. An immediate unity in form links these incongruous scenes: flat monochromes, mostly confident black lines, the random presence of speech bubbles. Weird and clichéd (surfers, bureaucrats, pin-ups), Pierre La Police’s characters are types of human. They live alongside implausible and misshapen beings that have gently infiltrated them. Thus, on a blood red background, out come four figures from a 1950s works council, but one of them is an alien imposter. The purpose of this simple art, although marked with deliberate awkwardness, is to threaten an all too peaceful reality by incessantly sabotaging normality. To this end, Pierre La Police, likes to mix legitimate and brut art forms, popular and underground; cinema, comics, desktop wallpaper, fotonovelas, stickers etc. The contrast between the quality of the boards and the cheap, derisory imagery they depict works perfectly. From spanning print offsetting to the noble art of lithography, Pierre La Police wins poetic gravitas.
Thomas Clerc – Janvier 2008
Pierre La Police
Born in 1959 in France.
Lives and works in Paris.