Jean Gfeller, born in 1996 in Switzerland, is a recently graduated artist from the Fine Arts of Nantes and former student of recognized French painters such as Damien Cadio (represented by the C gallery) and Xie Lei (represented by the Sémiose gallery).
Without precisely defining it, Jean Gfeller is interested in another kind of humanity. Creating a dialogue between painting, photography, and digital art, he draws his inspiration by collecting images from the Reddit forum, which he places in situations that oscillate between the absurd and the strange. The isolated figures, often imbued with melancholy, are inspired by people with marginal behaviors, from the pyromaniac to the exhibitionist and the criminal, and evolve in spaces organized by flat colors that seem devoid of perspective. The scenes represented transform the banal: they appear familiar while existing outside of a specific time and space.
Frames of micro-fictions that Jean Gfeller sketches like a puzzle without giving its resolution, his works are proposals for narratives, starting points for stories with the potential for the spectacular, of which we could be the heroes – a promise equal to the slogan of the Reddit forum, «Dive into anything.» His stories in dots, navigating between irony - even self-deprecation when the artist puts himself on stage - and anxiety, involve a mental journey from all the clues that compose them: framing, color palette, or even titles are, therefore, means of stimulating the viewer’s imagination.
The visibility of the pictorial touch, characteristic of a process that works from layer to layer, testifies to the importance of repentance in his works. The subject, first sketched, is buried by successive layers of thick and oily paint. His pictorial practice is thus defined by an accumulation of matter until saturation because, as the artist says: «I represent people with marginal ideas or behaviors by offering them a prominent place, that of a model. But without pampering them: if in the end, the painting and its characters do not suit me, I bury them under other layers of oils, under other strange figures.» Between the flatness of the composition and the materiality of the painted surface, the gaze is led to invest in these parallel and plausible worlds, these realities always out of sync.
In 2022, we dedicated his first monographic exhibition to him, with the support of Cnap.
His work has recently entered French and Swiss private collections and the collection of Arts aux murs (Artothèque de Pessac).