Les Disparus / The Lost Ones

“ The Lost Ones “ is the first one person exhibition of the Belgium artist, Julien Friedler, at the Gourvennec Ogor Gallery in Marseille. In this series of photographies taken in the artistʼs studio in Brussels last Spring, the artist confronts the viewer and takes him right into the closest intimacy of his work, within the most private circle of his memory as a man and as an artist.
In revealing the marks of an ardant creativity process, illuminating the space with materials and pigments, corps and signs; the artist unveils the dueling forces within himself. A place where the forces fight with each other, where the thoughts and the materials are worked directly onto the walls, where the souvenirs of the man are confronting the artist activity with a violent movement, whose stigmas are engraved in the space.
One will notice that no real paintings are seen in these pictures. Only the outlines of their existence are visible, such as the remains of a work which we do not really know whether it was finished or still in progress. The artist is not shown either, his presence is marked by his own absence.
The only thing that “ The Lost Ones “ is showing us is disppearance as a phenomenum. To disappear does not mean to die. Disappearance is the confused feeling of a loss without any explanations, the sensation of an uncontrollable erasure of something that is no longer there, the presence of which however is very intense. To disappear means leaving the time.

It is significant to know that Julien Friedler was born in 1950 from a Jewish family. He was raised in a psychological and family environment that was marked by the traumatic experience of the Shoah. He built himself within the sequel of History, forever confronted by the weight of the past, the scars of the memory. Therefore it shouldnʼt come as a surprise to find in this exhibition a reference to that time symbolized by a soft doll, marked in the middle of the face by a yellow star, a doll physically present in the exhibition, that is represented virtually in the pictures, slowly fading away.
Time is a central factor within Julien Friedlerʼs approach to his artworks. Time does not progress as a succession of events in a linear manner, but it rather is used as an active matter, a media in itself that fully participates to the creativity process. See the platforms that the artist has already established since the years 2000 which protocols of creation are spreading over decennies, way beyond his own lifetime.
A time that could also reveal itself terrible; a glimpse that stumbles; an instant where the painting gets lost; because the doll is rubbing off and the artist is fading away only to become : “a lost one among the other ones”.


Erno Vroonen, International Curator, Designor of the exhibition.

Translated by Gabrielle Bryers