Stephan Laplanche was born in 1970; he lives and works in Paris, France. Laplanche was an Artist-in-Residence at Honfleur Gallery in 2012.
Laplanche’s abstract paintings stand outside the trends of the contemporary art scene, continuing, and expanding on, the work of the Second Generation of American abstract expressionists such as Diebenkorn, Norman Bluhm, Alfred Leslie and Joan Mitchell. Laplanche attended the classes of the Janos Ber Workshop in 1985, where he learned observation, charcoal drawing and oil painting techniques. His pictorial approach was drawn from striving to solve issues of composition, masses, rhythm and expression. Moved by the emotional impact contained in the works of Sam Francis or Bram Van Velde, Stephan Laplanche immersed himself in all aspects of visual abstraction, convinced of his own need to explore its freedom and expressiveness.
On canvas, his work literally seems ‘in progress’, a constant struggle between creation and destruction. Emotion is a result of that struggle, and of the traces left behind by it. Painting experiences the passing of time, and looks at what is left of it. It is an attempt to make that time one’s own by focusing on a particular point of fusion. With overlapping forms and intertwined constructions, Laplanche uses his colors to reach a mix of instable balance and movement, a testimony of the energy of a painting that is in the making. Laplanche’s colors sometimes get close to saturation as proof of the intimacy of their struggle with the canvas, and of the way they have of both covering and uncovering it. In Stéphane Sanchez words, this approach tells of an ‘eroticism of color’.
Laplanche’s work stands at the crossroads between self-assertion, Hartung’s ‘action on canvas’ and withdrawal. A particular attention is given to randomness, as well as the unequivocal respect owed to matter. These back-and-forth exchanges strengthen Laplanche’s confidence in the canvas as a place of discovery, enabling him to find a deeply personal language, with color materializing it in terms space and battlefield.
Laplanche considers painting as a craft whereby an object is the result of an action or the expression of a personal desire, as well as the meeting point of ancient artistic forms with more immediate ones – a point where the raw urge to leave a trace, and the experience of a time located outside the self are summed up by one, simple gesture: the stroke of the brush on a canvas.
Of that one, simple gesture, Dubuffet once said that it ‘stood at the borderline between the most ignominious and miserable daubing, and a small miracle’ – and in many ways Stephan Laplanche is making it his own.