Like everyone else I wanted to live

The gallery is delighted to announce Julien-Arnaud Corongiu's second solo exhibition at its Saint-Germain-des-Prés space from 2nd to 30th March 2024. This new body of work, entitled "Comme tout le monde, j'ai voulu vivre (like everyone, I wanted to live)," features ink, charcoal, and acrylic on paper and canvas, and is presented as an introspective, autobiographical work.

"Here is a piece of my life that I present to you now," explains the artist, composing a gallery of solitary portraits. Embracing departed loved ones, these imprecise, translucent silhouettes, their heads bowed, their backs arched, illustrate themes of grief, melancholy, and absence. In contrast to the gravity of the subject matter, the color palette is explosive. "The colors chosen soften the seriousness of the subjects. The dichotomy between palette and theme is central to my approach. When I was young, I had a deep admiration for Fauvism, and this continues to resonate in my work”.

Julien-Arnaud Corongiu provides us with a deeply personal and cathartic exhibition, emphasizing that even after life's most challenging moments, one can choose to carry on living. In particular, the bouquets of unfinished flowers, pure and sparkling white, worked in reserve, serve as a powerful dialectical metaphor, revealing as much about mourning as they do about the feelings we profess. As a counterpoint to our human condition, the artist defends the possibility - too often internalized - of expressing our emotions.

"Comme tout le monde, j'ai voulu vivre" lays bare the young artist's psyche, suspended between existential questioning and a genuine desire for happiness.

Olivier Waltman
March 2024

It's as if I no longer exist 

Winner of the Pierre David-Weil Drawing Prize at the Académie des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2022, Corongiu question identity the men’s place in a word affected by wars and conflicts.

With his recent corpus entitled It's as if I no longer exist, the artist is interested in determinism, exclusion and the enslavement of the individual. The character of the soldier in his uniform provides him with a powerful metaphor for the neutralization of identity. The history of Europe, the conscription of populations in the last world wars, lead Julien-Arnaud Corongiu to put the human, in all his individuality, at the heart of his practice.

The exhibition presents a set of watercolor portraits, as well as ink and charcoal drawings, on paper. The artist mainly draws inspiration from archive images, sometimes found on the internet, to paint the portrait of unknown people. He explains that: “The central human figure seems lost, constrained, held by something in a chaotic in-between without real spatio-temporal markers. She is present without really being there, already on the move. » The bright colors he uses create a powerful visual paradox which allows the artist to evoke “memory and the dissolution of bodies in space”. The charcoals, for their part, express with more darkness the ambivalence between the appearance and disappearance of bodies.

Olivier Waltman
September 2022


“My work essentially focuses on the question of identity and the relationship of the individual to the world. It can also be articulated around a more social form, through the notions of determinism, exclusion and enslavement. I also evoke memory and the dissolution of bodies in space. The uniform, by its interchangeable and universal aspect, questions the relationship to identity and its cancellation.

The images that I use, ranging from the figure of the soldier, personal photos, or even screenshots, testify in my opinion to a form of renunciation, to a certain fatalism.

The human figure, central, seems lost, constrained, held back by something in a chaotic in-between without any real spatio-temporal landmarks. It is present without really being there, already on the way out. »