Jean-Michel Alberola

Saïda Algiers 1953, lives and works in Paris, France

Celui qui figure
oil on canvas
120 x 110 cm

During the early eighties, the French artist Jean-Michel Alberola became particularly known as a painter.  Still producing only about four paintings every year, he devotes much more time to drawing, making books, taking photographs and writing. It is therefore not surprising that he feels a greater affinity with socially and politically involved artists such as Beuys and Boltanski than with the younger painters of his own generation. Alberola is a critical and humorous investigator of the artist’s role as ‘creator’. A large part of his work is signed by him with the name Actéon. Actaeon is the hunter from Greek mythology who sees the goddess Diana bathing. Diana tolerates no male advances, however, and responds ruthlessly. He is changed by her into a stag and torn to pieces by his own hounds. What Alberola finds fascinating about this story is that Actaeon transgresses the boundary of what may be seen. Through this theme he explores the limits of the forbidden and thereby those of the iconoclastic tradition.