“MY OLD NEIGHBORHOOD” ERIC FISCHL AT SKARSTEDT GALLERY PARIS
Eric Fischl “In My Old Neighborhood” inaugurates the new Paris premises of Skarstedt Gallery with a selection of recent large scale paintings. Fischl stages moments of human interactions set outdoors, on daylit sidewalks and front yards of suburban streets. One of the central themes in the artist’s oeuvre, the vision of American suburban life has fuelled some of his most resonant and provocative works.
Here, Fischl’s protagonists are sharing moments of improbable intimacy and proximity in the public space – the realm, distinct from the sense of privacy permeating the artist’s earlier explorations of the other side of the American Dream. Engaged in personal reflections, the characters appear exposed, as if driven to the street by an unknown force. Houses and cars form a grid-like backdrop of angular colour fields yet look unused and detached from the scenes unfolding in the foreground.
Citizens of suburban dystopias, Fischl’s characters rarely make eye contact, struggling to connect with each other. Often shown naked amid clothed street observers, the figures project a sense of fragility and unease.
Using photographs and collage as starting point, Fischl constructs compositions which oscillate between collective dramas and individual renderings of human nature, pinpointing moments imbued with unresolved conflict and existential angst.
Generating diverse narrative associations by juxtaposing various layers of signification, the works in My Old Neighborhood present affecting situations which retain a degree of uncertainty and evade direct social or political interpretation. As the artist explains: “I paint from a position of not knowing. I’m guided by association and intuition, and I am in search of an experience filled with meaning.” Capturing deeply personal reflections on American society today, the works are thus quasi-autobiographical, an aspect further highlighted by the title of the series.