A Language of Painting – ArtAttack Meets Jean-François Le Minh

ArtAttack sat down with emerging contemporary artist Jean-François Le Minh to discuss his artistic practise.

Jean-François Le Minh, Untitled, Acrylic, oil, enamel, spray paint and collaged napkin on wood panel in artist frame | Courtesy the artist

Since the first decades of the twentieth century, with the rise of more radical constructivist practices, painting had been thought to be nearing the end of its usefulness. In his publication ‘Challenge to Painting’ (1930) the Parisian poet and critic Louis Aragon stated:

‘Painting has not always existed; we can determine when it began. And if its development and its moments of greatness can be drummed into our heads, can we not then also imagine its periods of decline and even its end, like any other idea? – Louis Aragon

London based artist Jean-François Le Minh continues this conversation; his current practice engages with the discourse surrounding the status of painting and its atemporality in relation to conceptualism.

download (6)
Jean-François Le Minh, Promise Land IX, Oil, enamel, acrylic, charcoal and thermoplastic on canvas in artist frame | Courtesy the artist

His recent work pushes the boundaries of what constitutes art, and specifically, what comprises painting. Traditional oil paints are mixed with spray paint, acrylic, enamel, thermoplastic, American stationary and the debris of the studio: paper towels, gum wrappers and dried waste. Observation and appropriation of waste, “mixed material,” has been a key component in his practise.

“I have always used a lot of mediums and experimented with materials. I used to paint and then stopped because I felt it was limited, but a couple of years ago, I realised I could actually do what I enjoy, by using new materials on the surface of the canvas. So I’ve been taking traditional materials such as oil and acrylic and mixing them with raw materials like the thermoplastic; the combination of materials provides more opportunity and allows me to question, challenge, and bring my own definition of what sculpture and painting are today.”

He translates the material to a language of traces and marks on the surface of the canvas. A language, however, that is three dimensional, leading to a seamless change of medium from painting to sculpture. Under the influence of time, through rhythmic action, he searches for forms to directly engage the language of painting and not simply appropriate its’ vocabulary.

download (3)
Jean-François Le Minh, Untitled 7, Oil, acrylic and thermoplastic on canvas in artist frame / Untitled 8, Oil, acrylic, thermoplastic and charcoal on canvas in artist frame | Courtesy the artist
download (7)
Jean-François Le Minh, Untitled (From left to right), Oil, acrylic, metal, thermoplastic and plastic folding crate / Untitled, Oil, acrylic, metal, thermoplastic, spray paint, collaged paper on sponge, rope and plastic folding crate | Courtesy the artist

Jean-François expands the medium of sculpture by focusing on the use of materials and processes. For his latest exhibition he included a series of three sculptures which have been made in Le Minh’s studio and directly in situ. They reflect the child-like freedom of a self-taught artist.

download (4)
Jean-François Le Minh, Where Will You Go Next?, Oil, acrylic, thermoplastic on canvas in artist frame | Courtesy the artist

He mixes materials, moves between mediums, and breaks rules and conventions. The result is an atlas with an atemporal depth where creation is wrapped in re-creation, use with re-use, and life with after-life. The collection of works explores, with fresh intensity, Jean-François Le Minh’s re-definition of what sculptures might be in our current society.

download (2)
Jean-François Le Minh, Dancing In The Blues, Oil, enamel, acrylic, spray paint, charcoal and collage paper on canvas in artist frame | Courtesy the artist

– Harry Dougall

For all the latest on Jean-François Le Minh see:




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s