French artist Jean-Michel Alberola is transforming the Galerie Templon Brussels space with a new protean exhibition focused on the three years he considers pivotal: 1965, 1966 and 1967. Conceived as an installation, the exhibition combines painted walls, canvases, silkscreens and works on paper, offering a fascinating journey through the influences, passions and commitments of the unclassifiable artist.
Born in Saida in 1953, Jean-Michel Alberola spent the early 1960s in Algeria, in the midst of the war of independence. This traumatic experience, which led to his exile, caused the young Alberola to develop an obsessive focus on world news, politics, music and film. A focus that has left an enduring mark on his work. "I don't believe in inspiration," he explains, "but rather in a way of reading the surface of the world, of being clearly aware of it and being able to do something with it."
From the 1965 Watts riots to the release of Thelonious Monk's jazz album Straight No Chaser, and excerpts from Jean-Luc Godard's scripts, Alberola depicts a poetic movement centring on a period he considers fundamental to understanding recent contemporary history. "Most of the time, I wait for political realities to form questions and become images to be fashioned," he explains, "all it needs is one thing to come to my mind for me to find myself with a lot of work." As always, the artist's aim is to "tell stories", his story, to recount the world as he sees and imagines it, but also to shed indirect light on the power of art and its ability to transform the present.
Born in 1953 in Saida, Algeria, Jean-Michel Alberola lives and works in Paris. He made a name for himself in the early 1980s with a practice combining conceptual art and figurative painting. He has been represented by Galerie Templon since 1982. His work has been shown in numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Louvre (2005), Bibliothèque Nationale de France (2009), Maison Hermès de Tokyo (2009), Frac Picardie in Amiens (2012), Palais de Tokyo (2016) and the Louvre's Centre Dominique-Vivant Denon (2018). It has also featured in several group exhibitions, such as Light House at the Fondation Boghossian in Brussels (2021) and Ex Africa at Paris' Musée du Quai Branly (2021). In September 2021, the Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine (IMEC) gave the artist carte blanche and presented the results, centring on Franz Kafka, at the Abbaye d’Ardenne in Caen.