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Disenchanted Fantasies


Boris Eloi Dutilleul's painting is rich in traces of the Flemish Renaissance, from the presence of objects such as the armillary sphere to a meticulous realism concerned with detail and the rendering of materials. In this atypical painter's work, the viewer is confronted with an imagination that is alternately dreamlike and nightmarish. In this respect, this artist is a little like René Magritte, who discovered the secrets of time travel and returned to the studios of Van Eyck and Bruegel. A press lunch takes on the air of a biblical supper, and an aviator's helmet becomes a Flemish bonnet with raised edges in "A bouche que veux-tu" 

Firmly rooted in the pictorial tradition, which led him to paint himself in one of his many self-portraits in the same pose as Gustave Courbet in 1843, he offers us a sarcastic view of humanity that seems to have its head in the sand. Because beneath the apparent fantasy of the wordplay (Carpe Diem) and the situations (Vision extra lucide), the men and women who populate his compositions betray a seriousness and an inner tension that raises questions. The melancholy of his monochrome paintings has given way to a mild form of insanity in his recent works, as if to bear witness to an existential anxiety.

In this respect, Boris Eloi Dutilleul's work is like a disenchanted enchantment that takes on the trappings of an age-old history of art, all the better to show the degradation of a civilisation that once praised the now-lost magnificence of Man. Under the glaze of the paint and the care taken with the brushstrokes, behind the ferocious humour and the taste for improbable scenes, through the historical prestige of the golden age of Flemish painting, he appears grimacing and worried, when he is not caged or chained up. He now shares the canvas with animals that seem to be laughing at his vanished magnificence, millennia-old witnesses to his spoilt brat pretensions.


Bertrand Naivin 2023