"Their repertoire willingly summons recurring characters, in the manner of a family, and a fabulous bestiary. Their style is characterized by an impeccable graphics borrowing from comics and children's graffiti, incessant breaks of scale, spaces wavering as in a dream. It balances betweend a hilarious and explosive iconoclasm on one hand, in the manner of indomitable rascals; a heartbreaking melancoly, on the other."*
Thomas Schlesser, director of Fondation Hartung-Bergman
10 years, already
Ella & Pitr's first exhibition at the gallery was in 2012. Ten years ago, the pair from Saint-Etienne shook up the Parisian neighborhood of Faubourg Saint-Honoré with "Celui qui volait les étoiles pour les mettre dans sa soupe" [He who stile the stars to put them in his soup]. The world they conjure up delights with its poetry, its humour, its simulated candour, revelling in its fresness as much as it challenges. The naivety was always feigned, only form, while the substance could be rough.
In the decade since, Ella & Pitr have come a long way. They have travelled far and wide, criss-crossing the globe to paint and exhibit, from Beijing to Chicago, by way of Stavanger, London, Rome, Santiago de Chile, Mumbai, and countless other cities. They brought into the world a family of giants that can only be seen from the sky, they painted the biggest wall of Europe, two times. Firstly in Norway in 2015, then in Paris in 2019, before working on their own destruction. In the end, they tired of the quest to go ever bigger. With size taking precedence over substance, scale over subject, they decided to get back to the fundamentals of urban art, i.e. its epehemeral aspect, by literally exploding their creations.
Because that's what Ella & Pitr are all about: not dwelling on the tried and tested. Ever on the move so as not to stagnate, not to get bored or boring, and to position themselves where we do not expect them. That frame of mind applies to both their street and studio work. Over the past decade, their work has undergone a series of transformations and evolutions. First of all, the medium, with paintings on canvas and paper, of course, but also on concrete, wood, printer's drawers, with scenes hidden behind stained glass, drawn characters communicating with (or through) objects: brushes, pebbles, ceramics, broken crockery... All home-made and spun from the same poetic fibre that they themselves are made of.
Ella & Pitr surprised us again when four years ago they unveiled the first works in their series "Plis et replis" [Folds and folds of self]. More abstract, that new body of work was not a break with their figurative creations but rather an expansion on them. The piles of fabric highlighted the clothes, their textures and detailed patterns, with which they dressed their characters.
Ella & Pitr neither renounce nor sacrifice anything. Over those ten years we —as gallery owners but also as art collectors and enthusiasts—have been able to see what "freedom to create" means for artists for whom no object, size or subjecti is off limits. And today, with ever the same curiosity and gluttony for more, we welcome a new exhibition for the couple, Voyage en soi sauvage. Join us as we embark on this "Journey into the wild self"...
*Entire text by Thomas Schlesser can be read in the book "Gros comme ça", Papiers-peintres Editions.