Jean-LucAlmond is influenced by ‘memorial portraiture’ (also known as post mortem photography, which was a popular early 19th century photographic process for immortalising deceased loved ones).
He layers multiple paintings on top of each other before scratching away at the surface to reveal phantasmic faces peering from beneath. Therefore, his paintings are constructed through the processes of both creation and destruction, damage and repair.
The first time I saw Jean-Luc's work I had a very violent reaction to it, I wasn't sure why I reacted the way I had and spoke to the curator about the piece to learn a little more. I understood the concept of memorial portraiture but, the 2 pieces I saw just felt dark and menacing. I learnt that the two pieces on display were actually of doctors from the concentration camps in Nazi Germany. The figures were central in developing surgeries that are in use across the world to this day, but the violence and energy shone through the works despite the faces being highly disfigured and hidden through layers of paint and scratching.
Jean-Luc is obsessed with the materiality and texture of the paint itself. A certain tension exists within the thick surfaces of his paintings, as paint takes precedence over representation. He embraces the transformations that take place when he is no longer a slave to the image and the painting becomes more about the paint and the surface. He see's paint as a vulnerable skin, hovering and clinging to the subjects in his paintings, masking their identites but enlivening the image.