Christopher Lavenair

Fine art photographer - Painter

If colour is his signature, the feminine essence is his quest. In 2001, this great romantic artist decided to start a project featuring the woman. He moulds, blurs and adds tenderness to his models without restriction; his imaginary love seizes itself from these sublime creatures that look down on him from the heights of their catwalks. Gouache, Gesso, acrylic and oil pastels, sometimes boosted by oil or scrubbed by a brush, the images are worked until eradication. “The look is essential, it’s the look that gives me the music, the subtle energy and the woman’s beauty” he says. Kate Moss, Isabella Rossellini and Cate Blanchett are some of his iconic muses that lend their silhouettes to his artistic jubilation in a pictorial romanticism which remains rather unexplored today.

There is no doubt about it, that when we look at his first drawings, we see the establishment of Christopher Lavenair’s technique. He acquired the certitude of his gestures whilst studying art at the Chelsea College of Art and at the Wimbledon School of Art, this certitude has continued to be exceeded. Leaving London and Paris to go to Nice in 2006, the artist explored the blue of the Mediterranean which, since then, has largely influenced his painting and photography. A disappearing and mysterious beauty, his muses appear in his pictorial work as well as his underwater photographs. If he admits that he is influenced by Pop Art and artists like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, Christopher Lavenair’s work is in fact a greater movement, it is that of abstract expressionism which embraces the great freedom, words and images. These are incorporated in paintings, drawings, notebooks and desirable objects. Today, settled in Paris, he pursues a rich and abundant work, which wins over the public conquered by the vitality of inspiration. His talent is one to discover, or rediscover.

Written by Valérie Penven

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If everything starts with the irresistible act of drawing in a sketch book, the artist slides with ease from figuration to abstraction to satisfy a gestural growing need.

The artist’s recurring themes of the woman or of music invade the field of experimentation from another angle. The colour takes possession of the structure and becomes the artist’s speech within the work. Little by little the symbol dies so that the colour becomes a new power in his works…

This is undoubtedly a deep reflexion on the questioning and deconstruction of the image, however, equally a sort of game which encourages you to the think differently about the organisation of the established paintings surface. Later works testify this. With tearings, cuttings, scheming of empty and filled spaces, Lavenair likes reversing situations.

An extract from "10 Artistes à l'épreuve" by Rodolphe Cosimi

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Christopher Lavenair was born in 1971 and grew up between Paris and London, therefore experiencing both cultures which influence his work. After studying at Chelsea Art College and at the Wimbledon School of Art, where he studied Georges Blacklock, he attracted the attention of the renowned Bettie Morton Gallery, which offered to hold his first exhibition in London, 2002. During his Mediterranean visits, Christopher Lavenair intensified his palette with luminous tones splashed on his canvas, which were giving body in the bold superimpositions.

He is an enthused artist who devours the space and leaves his gestural exuberance to soak into diverse surfaces, paper, photos, tissue, canvas, cardboard, advertising medium, sketch books……The artist Lavenair redesigns everyday life, thanks to his incessant colouring in, and the way in which his use of colour sings through his large brush strokes, these techniques show his desire to illuminate life.

Being willingly influenced by pop art, Lavenair applies himself in the movement, the intellectual expressionist that plays on abstraction, figuration and the vigorousness of words. Lavenair mixes paint on his works and collages, which are made up of popular realities taken from the covers of fashion and humorous magazines, this giving the glossy paper images, a psychological incarnation and a musicality.

In photography, the artist looks to support the imagination and to reconstruct a universe between the world of advertising and emblematic figures. Books as well as unique pieces, painted on a large scale with gouache and acrylic or a piece created with wax, signify a respected feminine grace.

Written by Bénédicte Saxe

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Lavenair works from photographs which are extracted from well-known magazines such as Elle, Vogue, Vang, Forks…..Lavenair tears, re-sticks, brushes, paints, sews and colours using his own techniques, in almost any medium.

An energy and sensitivity come out of his paintings….as if the woman from the glossy paper were to become real, more gracious and expressive….Maybe Christopher Lavenair is searching to express the eternal and indescribable femininity or is he inviting us to reflect on looks and appearance?

(Communiqué de presse)
Press release written by Marie-Hélène Seyrat

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