Christian Lhopital

Born in 1953

Lives and works in Lyon

“Christian Lhopital graduated from the Lyon School of Fine Arts in 1976. He has shown his work in many institutions, such as the MAMCO in Geneva (2003), the MAC in Lyon (2008), the Lyon Biennale (2011), the MAMC in Saint Etienne (2013), etc.

Christian Lhopital is developing a body of work based essentially on the praxis of drawing, whether on paper, canvas or large wall surfaces. From his fluid and complex compositions, he brings forth an abundant and poetic world, marked by childhood and recurrent figures, at times taking the form of mental projections (on the verge of emergence or disappearance), and we do not know whether they hail from dreams or nightmares. Christian Lhopital’s work also seems to be informed by the deep-seated conviction that drawing contains an infinite array of possibilities and that by choosing to express it through many different technical procedures (pencil, water colour, collage, black stone, ink wash, acrylic, coverings), this permits the most personal of visions, at the crossroads of privacy and a universal questioning of the human condition.
In his early days, his work was tinged with darkish colours in which people thought they could detect the influence of an artist like Kandinsky in that way of composing a space through dynamic, almost musical layouts, and without in any way yielding to the figurative. In the long term, some series (like the “cinematic series” and the “suites”) developed a more sequenced conception of drawing and introduced a narrative dimension, in the manner of primitive animated films. Since 1999 his drawings have also filled walls, which he covers with the help of a graphite powder, perfectly dosing its ash-like and volatile properties. He shapes this black matter using subtle and successive interplays of erasures in order to obtain shades of grey. […]
Christian Lhopital is also working on a sculptural corpus, using some of his favourite motifs such as animal figures and mutant creatures. Using stuffed toys which he covers in white paint, thereby isolating their stare, the artist then proceeds to present them with the help of objects of day-to-day life, calling to mind certain famous installations produced by the Californian artist Mike Kelley.” […]

Excerpt from Mathieu Loctin’s notice for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Villeurbanne/Rhône-Alpes, June 2013

Translated by Simon Pleasance, 2015

Biographical notes translated with the support of the Centre national des arts plastiques - Cnap.