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Fixed explosion 

Inspired by the final explosion scene in Michelangelo Antonioni’s famous film Zabriskie Point, Léonard Martin’s eponymous suite, presented at Galerie Templon’s Brussels space, shows us a world turned upside down, evoking the constant flow of images in our world in the grip of the cloud.  Enough to make us want to break free ?

The multicoloured clothes in a wardrobe, the victuals in a refrigerator, a television set, the books in a library… all filmed in slow motion against a backdrop of psychedelic music (by Pink Floyd): you have to revisit the mythical final scene of Michelangelo Antonioni’s famous 1970 film Zabriskie Point to appreciate Léonard Martin’s eponymous sequel. A suite of brightly coloured oil and acrylic paintings with no vanishing points – as is only fitting to convey the impression of floating… “To look at the explosion of objects in Zabristie Point is to wonder about the fallout and wake left by the history of one generation on the next,” explains the artist, born in 1991 and a graduate of the Beaux-Arts de Paris and Le Fresnoye, who has been engaged in a dialogue between painting and cinema since his residency at Villa Médicis in 2019. “He asks, “What paths can be forged in the abandoned dreams of our elders? “I seize these objects on the fly. Where film pauses like a point of no return, my paintings imagine possible sequels.” 


What’s next in this mess of signs and automaton-like figures (the multimedia artist, who works with painting, sculpture and video, creates puppets and automatons to dramatise themes from literature and art history)? Transposing the cloud of levitating objects in Antonioni’s film onto the flat surface of the canvas, the Zabrikie suite inevitably evokes, through the saturation of signs, “the constant flow of images, texts and sounds that now occupy our daily lives and sometimes blur our vision.”  For Léonard Martin, in fact, “painting perhaps makes it possible to make images fall, to make it rain this ‘cloud’ that hangs over our heads”.  With their plunging perspective reminiscent of emaki – the Chinese, Japanese or Korean illuminated scrolls that prefigured cinema – his paintings “prevent the eye from freezing”.  A fragmented aesthetic that puts our gaze to test. There’s no rest here; we’re in the whirlwind of history and memory. Indeed, the artist asks: “How can we put the pieces of history back together? Where should we look and listen? My paintings don’t take stock.” They draw lines from one memory to another, seeking to repopulate the desert over which Antonioni’s lovers fly.


“Léonard Martin – Zabriskie suite” 

Galerie Templon Brussels

Until February 24

Belgium – BRUSSELS