The system’s mechanisms by Versus (VS)

"B&W Series", 26x95x10 cm, Stencil and painting on glass

Versus is a multi-disciplinary artist, creating objects’ customization and canvas by dynamic layout of symbolic patterns, like gear, cogs and mechanism but also eyes, masks as well as tribal and geometric shapes. He repetitively uses these patterns throughout his creation work although organizes them in novel forms each time. By exploring different arrangements, the artist reveals multiple imaginaries and invigorates discussions around nowadays’ problematic.
Indeed, the main sake in Versus’ work lies down the social and even philosophical questioning, highlighted by human/machine/nature combination. What strikes you the most is the uneven place of each pattern in Versus’ creations:  gears and mechanisms alluding the cause-and-effect relationship are often dominating. They are surrounding massively human forms, like eyes or tribal shapes, as if there were boxes… or traps. Ruffled gear, comparable to mechanism’s teeth give also an aggressive and cold feeling, which is strengthen by the choice of the colors in the compositions. Furthermore, amassing those mechanical elements reveals an inner system, as if the machine was a monster which almost engulfed humanity and was ready to crush it with its gear. Globally, the mechanical patterns are over-represented and seem to condemn the current promotion of the machine and the progressive individual dehumanization of our occidental society.
Gathering mechanisms and human shapes also questioned our system: by its complexity and endless movement, it is slipping from the control of man who ends up in a submissive position. Consequently, each composition can be seen as a cartography of these different problematic and could take the mean of a code to decrypt. Versus’ creations look as if they were influencing each other and thus constitute a denunciatory but consistent visual universe.

  "Blob From Space Serie"Collagraphy and spray paint, 10 x 15cm, 2015

"Cosmecavege", Collagraphy on paper, acrylique, spray paint and inks, 31x72cm, 2015

Could you tell us about your artistic path?

I did not feel like dedicated to art at first. I underwent a formation in graphics and visual communication in Paris, and when I graduated, rapidly began as a freelance graphic designer. As a first step, I worked for several TVs productions for which I realized fake visuals, logos, magazines, and different packaging according to different scenarios, in order for the companies to avoid paying royalties. Beyond the TV frame, I also had similar assignments within music, association, software, design, etc…
Nevertheless, this type of job is always pretty constraining as needs permanent concession. To me, the artistic process is a way to escape from the inevitable pressure and frustration emanating from the job. Under the cover of a pseudo I feel free to tell about messages I care about. I started to sign my works “VS” in 2011, and since this year, I have kicked off a professional activity, especially because of the very good feedbacks I received from my first exhibition.  In addition, I collaborate with other artists, like Lik (within the Dirty Monkey association) and also was involved in collective exhibition last October with Jean-Claude Cassier and Laurence Brigon.

"Cellarhizome", Resine and Collagraphy on Tissue paper, inks, Wood support 15 x 15 x 1cm, 2015

"Mecacollacell" Red Serie, Resine and collagraphy on tissue paper, Wood support 15 x 15 x 1cm, 2014

How are you deciding the pattern combination in your creations? What sense do they make to you?

I work as I write: automatically, as if I would be able to establish a form of communication between my subconscious and my intellect. When I am finalizing a composition, I prefer to get influence from my day-preoccupations and my feelings or simply from a music or rhythm that can inspire me better than a long and steady reflection. I make a point of remaining open to unexpected outcomes, incidents and uncertainty. This way is much more fun and can even sometimes transcend our mind: sometimes a simple strain developed by incident is more interesting than a mastered drawing. Nonetheless, I like to think my creations are indeed paving the way of a metaphoric thought.
The patterns of human, machine and nature are systematically embedded in my arrangements. Those three themes are interlocking to evoke a metaphor of what could be our actual world. The gears represent the system’s complexity and continuous movement giving its origin. This is also a good pattern to symbolize and accentuate the cyclic aspect of the system we are living in. The eyes are obviously representing the human side, the man stuck in the middle of the system, both actor and witness. They are directly referring to the tribal shapes, way to evoke the primitive tribes who were destroyed by the advent of machine area. The global intricacy of forms, shapes and patterns suggests the intimate chaos characterizing the system. If we were to consider to it as a whole, pieces are often structured in an organic manner and make me think of a living chaos in permanent mutation. Some of my creations are actually designed as living cells macros.
To summarize, my works illustrate critics about the merging relationship between occidental society and machines and subsequently the underlying dehumanization. Above all, this is an analysis of the current system we are living in but that somewhat does not seem to run properly.

"Mecazoïd red and white serie", 15x15x1 cm (each), Resin and Vinyl (cutting machine ), wood

"Mecacollacell Brown Serie», 15x15x1 cm (each), Resin, collagraphy on silk paper, wood

What are the main technics you work with?

I do not have a favorite technic. On the opposite, I try to mix several technics to create my own one, to end up with a unique visual impact. I can use digital features as well as manual tools like stencils, paint throws, drawing, collage, etching with acid…

"Geisha", 50x50x4cm, Stencil on canvas (4 layers), paint spray

3 Rings with jewel box engraved, diameter 12mm, 2015

What kind of relationship are you supporting with street art?

My work is strongly related to street art and more globally to underground culture but I would not describe myself as a street artist as I simply do not paint in the streets. That being said, I happen to use similar process in customizing decorative objects and everyday life tools like would have done Warhol or Keith Haring.

Ring Steampunk, diameter 25mm, 2015

"Torn Serie II Red" 1/2, Resine and collagraphy on silk paper, Wood support, 13 x 24 x 1cm

Are you inspired by specific artists or trends?

Of course, I have already mentioned the street art and underground culture among my inspirations. I have been fascinated by Jérôme Bosch, Dali and Escher works since I was a child and maybe later on by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and HR Giger.
Influences from more recent artists may be also noticed: Bansky because of his protesting and cheeky side, Mr Zion (who I discover just last year) for his alikeness and colorful universe. I also like Blu for his amazing performances and his mutant universe of wild type.
On the movies side, directors like Ridley Scott, James Cameron, David Cronenberg and Stanley Kubrick keep challenging my imagination and questioning. Finally, I am massively inspired by some comic books as Ranxerox by Tamburini and Liberatore fascinated me with his cyberpunk universe.

"Sans titre", Resine and Collagraphy on Tissue paper, Wood support 13 x 18 x 1cm, 2014

The engaged art of Versus is invited the audience to globally reflect the place the machine is prominently gaining in our today’s occidental society. Of course this questioning is not new: from Modern Times with Charlie Chaplin to the ludicrous machinery of Jean Tinguely, many voices already raised against the machine’s oppression on human kind. However, the originality that lies in Versus work reveals the complexity of this destabilization and its macabre fusion. His creations are exceptionally striking in the sense he is contesting this relationship in a brand new way. As a matter of fact, his art deserves all reader attention and I strongly encourage to take a look at the artist’s page and to follow the progress of his starting career.         

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