Hervé Di Rosa
Hervé Di Rosa and the art of Comic Strip
A champion of all forms of popular culture, Hervé Di Rosa (born in Sète in 1959) developed the concept of “l'Art modeste” and is influenced, imaginatively, by graffiti, comic books and the whole countercultural scene. He is exuberant, colourful, joyful and baroque, an artist formed by a diet of magazines like Pif Gadget, Tintin and Spirou, and a huge fan of Franquin, Macherot, Chester Gould, Will and Tillieux – collectively a subject on which he cannot say enough. An exhibition of paintings and drawings by Di Rosa due to be held from 2 June to 29 July at the Huberty & Breyne | Matignon gallery marks the artist’s determination to pay tribute to his heroes.
As a young artist just starting out, and with something of a sex, drugs and rock & roll approach to life, Di Rosa contacted the magazine Charlie Mensuel, but its editor-in-chief, Georges Wolinski, rapidly discouraged this cosmic talent from launching a real comic strip revolution by giving him a piece of precious advice: “It’s painting. You need to make your panels large-scale.”
Di Rosa readily acknowledges the influence of comic strip in his work. His paintings are a remix of the imagery and conventions of the 9th Art. “This series is not just a homage to the great names of Franco-Belgian and American comic strip,” he explains. “It’s a real inward journey. My work is rooted in childhood. My formal and graphic imagination has been fashioned thanks to the images and comics that fascinated me as a young boy. For this exhibition, I have tried to establish connections between popular graphic culture and the history of art in general.”
Today, Hervé Di Rosa signs paintings that measure eight metres wide and three metres high and produces sculptures in painted resin. These works are the missing link between speech bubbles, painting and sculpture – joyful works that are, at the same time, so many long-distance journeys. As the artist himself explains, “I have tried to bring together things that have influenced me at an unconscious level. I have noticed, for example, that the way I represent wood in my paintings resembles the back cover of one of Morris’s Lucky Luke albums. The way I draw animals comes from Macherot. And Will has influenced me with some of his Tif et Tondu albums. One of my characters is called ‘la Porte Verte’, an echo of Will’s ‘Matière verte’, and of The Green Door, a 1960s American psychedelic rock group... From Jijé, I’ve sometimes borrowed character dynamics. And we might also see a link between Tillieux’ car crashes and those that occur in my works. All these authors have had a real influence on my creative output.”
A painting by Hervé di Rosa invites us to look the way we listen to a guitar riff by Franck Zappa. It’s a UFO. Globe-trotter and eclectic, Di Rosa creates an art shot through with universal humour that makes us laugh at humanity’s ills.
Thursday 1 June 2023, from 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm
in the presence of the artist
From Friday 2 June 2023
to Saturday 29 July 2023
PARIS | Matignon
36 avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris
Tuesday > Saturday 11.00 am – 7.00 pm