Gladstone Gallery is pleased to announce our fifth exhibition of work by French artist Jean-Luc Mylayne and his first at the Brussels location. For over three decades Mylayne, along with his partner and collaborator, Mylène, have dedicated themselves to an artistic pursuit that is both deeply personal in practice and universal in poetic observations upon human nature and the metaphysical.
In his large format color photographs, Mylayne further explores the impulses that first led him to create his compelling meditations upon art and ornithology. Having abandoned the modern conventions of owning a house, car and material possessions in pursuit of a nomadic life devoted to the creation of his work, Mylayne tenderly captures the natural world and its avian inhabitants.
This exhibition features works from two series: one shot during a two-year Lannan Foundation residency in Bernal, New Mexico, and Fort Davis, Texas and the second shot in France, among apple orchards. Continuing his ongoing project to photograph birds in their natural environment, Mylayne’s artistic endeavor is powerfully bound to the precise intersection between observation, time and site. The title of each work is numbered and dated according to the month and year of its execution, a strategy that reveals Mylayne’s methodical working practice and commitment to recording the conditions of time. Choosing each location very carefully, Mylayne spends months and sometimes years studying the behavioral activities and movement of birds, waiting for the moment at which the bird and the observer coalesce, blurring the line between subject and artist. Whether posed still on a branch or blurred in motion, the birds that Mylayne photographs appear to relate equally to their context as to their role in front of the camera. As the artist says: “The bird didn’t just consent to a picture. He posed, allowing me to take this portrait. It took two years to achieve this result. And it isn’t just about understanding the life of birds. Above all, it is an exploration, a way to try and to know ourselves, what we do and why we do it, through the bird.”
Jean-Luc Mylayne was born in France in 1946. Mylayne’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at institutions throughout the U.S. and abroad, including his recent exhibition at: Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon; Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston; Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY, among many others. Mylayne’s work is currently featured in “ILLUMInazioni” curated by Bice Curiger, at the 54th Venice Biennale, on view through November 27, 2011.