Two solo exhibitions of Stéphane Dafflon and Matthew Porter at the Baronian Xippas Gallery

In September, the Brussels-based gallery Baronian Xippas will present two solo exhibitions: one by the Swiss artist Stéphane Dafflon and one by the American photographer Matthew Porter.

Stéphane Dafflon — Matthew Porter
Opening: Thursday 5 September 2019, from 5 pm – 9 pm 
(during Brussels Gallery Weekend)
Exhibition runs from 6 September to 26 October 2019
Baronian Xippas
2 rue Isidore Verheyden & 33 rue de la Concorde
www.baronianxippas.com


Stéphane Dafflon

The exhibition dedicated to Stéphane Dafflon (b.1972, Neyruz, CH) brings together fifteen previously unseen paintings, each of which is 70 cm high. The works on display have attractive colours and diverse geometric forms. ‘Shaped canvases’ and square paintings hang side by side in a dynamic and well-balanced installation.

Stéphane Dafflon’s paintings are simple in appearance yet their surface is smooth and perfectly rendered. The works, which comprise geometric and abstract forms with clear outlines, initially challenge us with their sobriety. Only when we look closer do we see that the sharpness of the shapes becomes blurred and that some of the corners are rounded. Stéphane Dafflon subtly distorts the lines and shifts the alignment.  

Dafflon’s paintings are first created on a screen, and subsequently transcribed from the computer to the canvas or the wall. They only fully come to life in the environment in which they are displayed. Indeed, the architecture into which the works are integrated is systematically taken into account by the artist. His works interact with the exhibition space and influence the viewer’s perception of it, both physically and visually. The paintings seem to emerge from their predefined frames and to activate the space.

Stéphane Dafflon’s work creates a palpable, tangible and almost audible experience. The artist wants to evoke a variety of physical sensations, akin to music from which he draws his inspiration. His influences are varied: from concrete art to minimalism in the shapes and colours he uses, graphic design and monochrome painting. Dafflon’s artistic approach is in line with the historical movements of modernity, whose formalism he reinterprets in a deliberately uninhibited way.


Stéphane Dafflon was born in 1972 in Neyruz (CH). After graduating in visual arts from the Art School of Lausanne (ECAL) in 1999, he became a professor at that same school in 2001. He lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland. His solo exhibitions include: U + 25A6 in Plateau FRAC Ile de France in Paris (2018), Blue in Green, a facility designed for the festival Le Printemps de Septembre in Toulouse (2018), Fri-Art Center for contemporary art in Fribourg (2011), Turnaround in the Mamco (2009), Statik Dancin’ in the Frac Aquitaine (2007), and Aller-Retourin Centre culturel Suisse in Paris (2006). He took part in the following group exhibitions: Construire une Collection at the MBA in Rennes (2018) and Collectionneurs at the Kunstmuseum Lucerne (2016). He also participated in Salon artgenève in 2018, with the Canton Fund for contemporary art.


Matthew Porter - ‘Scenic’

Baronian Xippas is pleased to present ‘Scenic’, Matthew Porter’s (b. 1975, Pennsylvania, US) first solo exhibition in Belgium. The exhibition consists of two parts and enablesthe visitor to discover the many facets of Porter’s artistic practice. In the 2 rue Isidore Verheyden space, photographs from his ‘flying cars’ series are displayed alongside a new series inspired by current events. Across the street in the 33 Rue de la Concorde space,

a selection of other works from ongoing projects and older series are on view. Matthew Porter’s artistic practice is multifaceted, and his pictures are often permeated with multiple historical and cultural references. In his compositions, various elements coexist side by side, be it within the same image, or from one image to the next in a series of meticulously edited photographs. He moves between digital and analogue processes freely, and engages with both studio experimentation and representational straight photography, creating both fictional narratives and process based works.

In the 2 rue Isidore Verheyden space, photographs from his ‘flying cars’ series are displayed alongside a new series inspired by current events. Influenced by the troubled times in which we live, other small-format photographs counter the glib tone and the nostalgic iconography of the ‘flying cars’ series. Matthew Porter claims to have drawn his inspiration from the news cycle in order to create this striking sequence. “Imagesof walls, fences and barbed wire are part of our current media landscape, in light of the debate about immigration and the migration crisis on the Southern border of the United States.” The photographs recall the atmosphere of a film-noir and focus on specific details and relationships: people on the phone, passers-by crossing the street, fences and so on. A general sense of unease permeates the sun-drenched landscapes, imbuing the figures on the street with a mix of outward paranoia and subtle defiance. In contrast, vintage cars hover over American city streets and highway intersections, creating an absurd mix of pop-culture cliché and topical concerns.

The exhibition continues in the second space (33 rue de la Concorde) with older works, including a series of black-and-white photos created in the studio of Matthew Porter’s father, a sculptor influenced by modernism. The black-and-white prints document the debris generated by the creation of his artworks and the ‘remains’ of unused materials come to life in front of the lens. Lighting effects are used to transform the photographed objects and conjure new associations: a mirror reflects an almost invisible field located beyond the frame of the camera, we are blinded by bleached metal, and black shadows create areas of absolute darkness and emptiness. Other works, in color, feature montages, overlays and multiple exposures. Here Porter’s work harnesses

experiments from both old and new technologies in order to explore the possibilitiesof image construction and manipulation. A third selection features works that center around a fictional place — the construction, abandonment, and rediscovery of a series of dome structures on a tropical island. Several discrete characters make appearences, but their roles are never defined. Part science fiction, part fantasy, and part narrative riff, the work is a nod to the literary tradition of placing stories of colonial hubris in tropical locations.


Matthew Porter was born in 1975 in State College in Pennsylvania (US). He graduated from Bard-ICP in 2006 and has taken part in many institutional exhibitions including After Photoshop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 2012) and Perspectives 2010 at the International Center of Photography (New York, 2010). He recently participated in group exhibitions at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester (New York, 2016) and the Foam Photography Museum (Amsterdam, 2014). In France his work was unveiled at the exhibition Autophoto at the Fondation Cartier (Paris, 2017). His first monograph, Archipel, was published in 2015; and Aperture published The Heights, a book dedicated to his ‘flying cars’ series in 2019. His work features in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York (US). In 2016, Matthew Porter was invited by Christian Dior to design a collection of bags and accessories for the Dior Lady Art project.


Stéphane Dafflon — Matthew Porter
Opening: Thursday 5 September 2019, from 5 pm – 9 pm 
(during Brussels Gallery Weekend)
Exhibition runs from 6 September to 26 October 2019
Baronian Xippas
2 rue Isidore Verheyden & 33 rue de la Concorde
www.baronianxippas.com

Micha Pycke