First published: Summer 2016
The world created by Stéphane Blanquet is a monstrous circus of reality. The people, insects and other characters which cohabit in his books, or occupy an entire wall space in an exhibition, are monsters that swarm in too-cramped pictorial spaces. As Blanquet acknowledges, paper and canvas are far too limiting, so going beyond the frame his worlds and characters conquer entire walls, and entire exhibitions.
Blanquet says, “Spaces are always too small for my necessity to spray everything around with my pictures. If I was given an entire building, I would cover it with graphic semen. I need a city to cover it with pictures; a city is a minimal space for an exhibition”.
Blanquet’s monsters closely interact, creating myriad living, organic patterns that pulsate and absorb our gaze. From the narration of tales to the abstraction of murals horror vacui, Blanquet’s universe becomes an ordeal in which we are forced to confront our own shadow side, and it is a pleasurable carnal hallucination.
Décollations Luminescentes (Luminescent Beheadings), Stéphane Blanquet, 2012, pencil on paper, cover of group Le Muscle Carabine – troisième gorgée of United Dead Artists, 15.7 x 23.6 ins. / 40 x 60 cm, artist’s collection
Blanquet published his first drawing when he was twelve years old, when he made ten colour photocopies; thus, he gave birth to his first edition. His idols were characters from pop culture, found in comics (such as the French Placid et Muzo), airport novels, and erotic comics published by Elvifrance. In 1989, aged 15, he made the fanzine Chacal Puant (Stinking Jackal) and began to publish work by mostly-unknown artists. Runs of 500 copies quickly grew to 1000, as demand for the explicit, raw, spontaneous and deliberately awkward drawings increased. Artists published by Blanquet at this time included the “punkoid” Y5/P5, Keiichi Tanaami, Jérôme Zonder, Chris Hipkiss, Gary Panter, Rory Hayes and Charles Burns.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #90