COLOGNE.- The title of his exhibition, The Soliloquy of the Broom⁄Selbstgespräch eines Besens by the artist Olivier Foulon (*Brussels, 1976), floats between make-up, masquerade and painting. It focuses on Gustave Courbet's painting Jo, the Beautiful Irish Girl painted by the French artist in 1865 in Trouville. It shows a lady named Jo, mistress and model of the artist James Whistler, looking at herself and her hair in a mirror. Due to a great demand Gustave Courbet painted not only one painting but copied it several times. The four versions belong nowadays to the Metropolitan Museum, New York, the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, the Nationalmuseum of Stockholm and to a private collector. Olivier Foulon brought the four paintings together with the help of a 16mm film and visualises not only early forms of mass production in art, but works with the concept of a model that is used as a template for a painting which itself then becomes the model for another painting.
A publication edited by Gevaert éditions is the second part of the exhibition. Olivier Foulon chose three texts from the year 2005 about the artists Michael Krebber from the Artforum International online-archive and republished them. Already on their way from the print- to the online-edition the texts were bowdlerised from the original supplementary illustrations and images, the Image make up and were furnished with the laconic comment illustration omitted. In both works Foulon questions the meaning and functionality of the individual hand of an artist. By copying his own pictures Gustave Courbet questions the concept of an artist's hand in the same way as Michael Krebber does in his work.
Olivier Foulon's artistic work shows arrangements through which art history can be renegotiated and interpreted anew. His conceptual method of operation is based on the appropriation and playing with specific historic artwork. He devotes himself to the relationship of original, copy and reproduction, to the reading and presentation of art works, as well as to the role of the artist within.
In 2005 Olivier Foulon received the high reputed Prix de la jeune peinture belge, in the same year he received a working grant of the JUST- project in Düsseldorf. He studied fine art at the Ecole de Recherche Graphique in Brussels, became studio scholarship holder of the Jan van Eyck-Akademie in Maastricht and lived in Brussels before he moved to Berlin in 2007. Recently, Olivier Foulon exhibited in a solo exhibition at the Museum X⁄Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, at the Galerie Dépendance, Brussels (2007), at the Galerie Nadja Vilenne, Liège (2005) and at the Marres Center for Contemporary Art, Maastricht (in 2004), amongst others; he took part in group exhibitions at the Musée Malraux, Le Havre (2008), at the Museum Sztuki, Lodz (2007), at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, at the Casino Luxembourg (2005) and at the Generali Foundation in Vienna (2004), amongst others.