Didier Mencoboni: Episode X, Génération…Etc… at Galerie Eric Dupont, Paris

Chance plays an increasingly preponderant role in Didier Mencoboni’s latest works. His sculptures range from fluorescent, Calder-inspired dangling mobiles to photographs of shapes confected from the remaining dollops of paint stuck at the bottom of the artist’s sink. Mencoboni’s art spans the whole gamut of aleatoricism, ranging from minimal intervention to almost complete artistic control. The sink-derived paint-sculptures are aggregates of trapped brush bristle and clotted cakes of chance-mangled paint. They constitute one of the most appealing ways of beautifying refuse, thus standing at the most aestheticising end on the spectrum of Trash art. Perhaps only Francis Bacon put his studio dust to better use by incorporating it into his paintings.

By contrast, Mencoboni’s Calderesque mobiles move in more or less predetermined ways. Their most interesting aspect was ultimately the way they were attached to the wall, on a beautifully interlocking set of metal rods which released them from looking too derivative.

A set of 24 volumes shelved on the gallery wall collect the sum total of Mencoboni’s computer-assisted, rather than generated, art. The artist uploaded pictures of his abstract designs onto a computer and let it reassemble four of these elements in each new digitally collaged frame. The results are as satisfactory as if they had been formatted by Piet Mondrian, whose assistants were forced to spend hours holding up rectangular slabs of colour until the master decided that each geometric shape was in its perfect place.

Mencoboni’s more traditional graphic art includes vast paper vistas of the handwritten word “Etc”. These combine to form melodious patterned swarms. The Latin abbreviation is in fact the key to Mencoboni’s pictorially encyclopaedic attempt to capture the kaleidoscopic permutations of colour and shape.

Erik Martiny

Didier Mencoboni: Episode X, Génération…Etc, 7 December until 22 February, Galerie Eric Dupont, 138 Rue Du Temple, 75003 Paris. www.eric-dupont.com

Image: Didier Mencoboni, Tirage jet d’encre couleur, 2013. © Galerie Eric Dupont