What our heart desires – Johanna Dumet with König Galerie

vor 3 years

Listen up art-aficionados! Johanna Dumet, known for her figurative, naive and colorful paintings, is now launching her new Edition „La petite bière bien fraîche“ at König Gallery. 

Did you know that the art of still lifes were already widespread in the Middle Ages in the Netherlands? With a focus on a precise attention to detail, the masters of art at the time tried to outdo each other with every still life they created. The Dutch still life was painted with virtuoso realism, as an expression of profane sensuality, combined with motifs of transience, such as skulls, and the worldliness, meaning books or scientific instruments. But what about nowadays? Are there creatives bringing still lives up-to-date? If you suggest no, you probably never heard of Johanna Dumet. With her colorful and figurative paintings, the French artist transfers a sense for the moment to her paintings, which makes them contemporary and timeless.

Trained as a fashion designer – which clearly inspires her work – the artist began painting as an autodidact in 2012. “I love textile, patterns, colors. You can always see it in my paintings. I paint lots of fashion items, I dress my people in my paintings with luxurious garments, and I’m not scared to go wild with colors as well. But mostly, I now understand fabrics better and can choose different canvases that will have an impact of the painting afterwards“, says the berlin-based artist. 

But her fashion studies and her love for garments in general also impacted her skills of observing her surroundings: “I learned how to get inspired by what I see – other than painters who revoke to their own small worlds in their studio. My paintings are quite open to the outside world and I think that’s why people really love them as they see themselves in them”. Dumet mostly paints with oil on canvas, but also uses other techniques such as gouache-painted paper glued to the canvas. She is known for painting impulsively, with a strong sense of flow and without constraint. The result is a sublime, captivating use of color and abstract form that continually interplays with figuration.

Rather than focusing purely on detail, she creates a minimalist representation of what she sees. Yet she understands the subject without trying to correct shapes over colors. Her motifs, such as food, animals, landscapes, and portraits, are contemporary but timeless. “In my still lifes you’ll never see a smartphone, a mask, or a computer.  I find these objects to be quite ugly and vulgar. I focus on elements that where there before me and will stay after me, so that the painting will make sense 50 years from now or would have made sense 50 years ago: a table set outside, sea food, drinks and cigarettes – that’s it!“

Regarding her process, Dumet found her own way of working. She strings her own canvases which influences the painting afterwards. She says: “To prepare my canvases is a big part of the process, as I choose carefully with which fabric I’ll work with. Linen or cotton, thick or thin – it makes a big difference. And then I start to paint. If I have a concrete idea in mind I sketch with a thick charcoal first and then I paint over it. But if I don’t really know what to paint then I’ll apply colors in an abstract way. From there I try to look for figurative shapes – just like we do when we look at clouds.“
And this nonchalant approach to her art is well received: “I often receive emails of people asking me to paint them an art piece, and I always say no, if I would start to do that, my job as a painter would become pointless!“ But why? It’s easy – her main goal, as with everything she does, is to remain her artistic freedom. “For me personally painting in the studio is the definition of my freedom. The canvas is my playground and it is the place where nobody can tell me what to do.”

And it is precisely this freedom that the artist transports in her art. This also applies to her latest work, which is now available in the König Gallery. The edition LA PETITE BIÈR EBIEN FRAÎCHE is based on Dumet’s series of work names „Les Petits objets tu désir“ (meaning: small objects of desire). “This series is based on the French expression se retrouver autour d’une bonne bouteille (to meet again around a good bottle) because that’s what a good meeting is often about, having a glass of wine, a beer or a coffee together. Meetings are always accompanied by something to drink – in that case a bottle of alcohol and coffee are my objects of desire.“ The bottle is the staring point for each painting in the series, then she decides what will accompany on the table – either food, cigarettes or some more drinks. “The little fresh beer in LA PETITE BIÈR EBIEN FRAÎCHE reminds me of spending lunch or dinner by the sea, eating fresh sea food in Marseille or Denmark.“

And for anybody that is interested in purchasing Dumet’s art: This open edition print will be available exclusively on koenig.art for 24 hours, starting JULY 15 at 6 PM EST and ending JULY 16 at 6 PM EST. The size of the edition will be determined by the total amount of orders received during that period. Although the edition can reach an indefinite number of copies, Dumet gives each print a unique character by hand-signing it and providing it with individual details.

All images: Curtesy of Johanna Dumet and König Galerie
Words by: Annika Duda

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