Born in Geneva in 1987, Mathieu Dafflon studied at the Haute école d’art et de design (HEAD) in his native city, between 2007 and 2011, and spent six months at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore (USA). He continues to live and work Geneva. Already featured in three solo exhibitions, he has also taken part in numerous group shows, mainly in the network of alternative contemporary art venues in Switzerland.

In 2014, he was awarded the City of Geneva Prize, as well as Berthoud, and Lissignol-Chevalier and Galland grants, and in 2016, the Hirzel Prize for his solo show in the Salle Crosnier of the Société des Arts of Geneva.

About the artworks

Practicing painting in all its many forms with a technical mastery that dares to tackle every format and a gestural style that is equal parts virtuosity and chaos, Mathieu Dafflon has been constructing an art that is shot through with history. Well aware of the art movements that have come before him, and deliberately using the style and subjects of great 20th-century painters like Karel Appel, Glenn Brown, Franz Gertsch, Malcolm Morley, and Steven Parrino, Dafflon transforms quotation into a genre, which he perfectly assimilates in his personal artistic vein. In his painting, expressionist gestures and hyperrealist features run into each other, occasionally fusing with elements drawn from magazines or comic books. Pigments and colors are expressed in a kind of channel-hopping that promotes a dynamic vision of the contemporaneity of our images. Without suggesting any particular hierarchy, the artist offers images that are as likely to be currently admired as out of fashion, and in good taste as much as in bad, in an uninhibited rereading of contemporary art’s recent history. When Dafflon reinterprets a work of art, he does so overtly by at least conjuring it up in the title.

The copy that comes out of this process is often in an ambiguous relationship with its model. Without systematically respecting the original format, he treats the image in different parts, which he arranges and occasionally superimposes to elaborate a new composition that turns out to be both similar to its model and totally different. It is not about faithfully duplicating but rather revisiting what is known. If the art of Anselm Kiefer is characterized by an expressive approach to the pictorial gesture, Mathieu Dafflon replays the pasty all-over brushwork of the older German master. A tight close-up focus on the initial composition nevertheless makes the work tip over into abstraction. Altered in its reproduction, the picture is transformed into an image of painting itself.

The artworks

Collection of contemporary art