Leo Chesneau


Untitled, toner & acrylic ink on canvas, 2021

Through his research, Leo Chesneau provokes a calling into question of traditional pictorial means, combining theoretical reflections and a political positioning on circulation and access to images. The equal importance attributed to the manufacturing stages and to the final artwork, as well as the absence of a predetermined subject in his works, shift the interest towards the succession of different gestures that create the paintings. His work reflects a desire to return to the primitive gesture, by appropriating different methods of image-making: covering, superimposition, subtraction, framing.

Leo uses simple, elementary structures made with the help of ancestral tools and materials such as fire, ink and pigment to reproduce technological mechanisms rid of their magic on a human scale. Purified forms, made up of elements below which the form itself dissolves: the repetition of similar shapes and volumes, the creation of a motif and its reversal.
The resulting pictorial proposals are marked by fractal esthetics, related to the popular theories that fascinate the artist, such as chaos theory, chance and serendipity.

We are faced with a style of painting that seeks to favor formal starkness, reductionism and neutrality, whilst striving to free us from all symbolic or figurative representation in order to create non-subjective forms. “What I want is to depersonalize the pieces, so that I can think of them as a common experience; so that we see only what is factually there, and make nothing up.” Simplicity is paramount, as is the development of a practice devoid of any allegory, seeking to play only on shapes and colors, involving the qualities of human nature as a minimum.

The geometric volumes are intended to be apprehended immediately, without artifice. The colors and different materials make it possible to produce objects that have no emotional history - the content of the final image is nothing other than the image itself, and is limited to the essentials. It is conveyed by methods that are always similar and whose results are infinitely varied. The different artworks ultimately maintain a critical relationship to the processes of industrialization and commodification of the modern world, to machine-oriented office life and to bureaucracy. Purely geometric or monochromatic in their aspirations, the resulting proposals are not therefore not only abstract and cut off from any reality outside of the painting, but based on mathematical and contextual models.

Untitled, toner on canvas, 2021