Vincent Larouche transports visitors into a fantasy world that is at once joyful and disturbing, complex and dystopic. The characters animating his paintings are symbols taken from media culture, science-fiction films, video games, cyberpunk and heavy metal culture, and history. The artist reappropriates and stages these popular icons, which are integral to his own universe, to give us poetically subversive messages.
The tension is sustained through dynamic pictorial compositions that play as much on the skillful handling of the line as on the photographs pasted over the monochromes. With an energetic brushstroke, Larouche gives shape to characters he sets on coloured, partially painted backgrounds. At times, thickly painted sections border minimally covered surfaces, and diptychs create a sequential rhythm.
The naive and colourful nature of his characters can make them appear ingenuous, innocent, sometimes childish. Yet each one seems struck by fate, caught in the net of an impossible situation that is malevolent, even fantastical or conspiratorial. They are possessed by supernatural forces, equipped with psychological weapons or superpowers, and in a way, appear to us as mutants between human, animal, and machine.
The characters also capture our attention through their gaze. Even when their eyes are empty or masked, we feel their omnipresent gaze fixed on us, hypnotizing and destabilizing us, which lends a human aspect to these characters of media culture. The fact that they are all looking at us gives us the feeling of being watched. Perhaps they present an analogy to a society in which we are increasingly under surveillance and which harasses and controls us, sometimes surreptitiously through our screens.
Translated by Oana Avasilichioaei