Luke James, artist from Paris, France. Photo © Courtesy of the artist

Tell us what you do and your beginnings.

Since the very beginning, my practice is composed essentially of a work of sculpture but also of photography and painting which invokes a physical relationship to materials and space. My sculptures can be decomposed as a series of sensitive and weighted gestures practiced on materials worked in a rough way. My photographs are primarily fortuitous situations or provoked by the meeting of dissonant elements, echoing the forms elaborated in my sculptures.

Globally, it develops in the course of pieces functioning like indexical and fragmentary traces of the dissection of relations between relations of power and curiosity: the Man, the animal, the architecture, and the social classes are some of the components of the interactions observed and questioned in the daily day. In exhibitions, I attempt to articulate sculpture and photography, which then act as reciprocal indices of reading. The exhibition space becomes a territory to conquer, and to play with that I appropriate gestures of construction as deconstruction.

Loon, Luke James. Photo ©Laurent Langlois

Right after my studies in ENSBA in 2015, I was invited to do my very first solo show in Barcelone the same year in a space called Homesession. The next year I was selected for Le Salon de Montrouge and a year after, to Revelation Emerige, a french prize for young artists. Between 2015 to 2019, I was moving a bit here and there with residencies like CCA Kitakyushu (Japan), Le Bel Ordinaire (France, Pau), and in Praiano in a partnership with BOZAR (Brussel) and Sol Lewitt house. I am now living in Paris.

What does your work aim to say?

I like to represent these situations that we all know through sculptural assemblages orchestrating an unstable symbiosis between a micro-action and an arsenal of materials. I believe that it is the gestures that count the most, they are even the most trivial ones that define us: biting into an apple, playing cards, drinking from a bottle, stroking an animal…

I try to deconstruct these events, to crack them in a way, in order to question their inscription in collective representations and in an altered spatial and temporal context. I work with domestic materials, playing with their properties, their history, and the narratives they invoke. I am a slacker of the material because it is it that really works, conditioning its transformations and my movements towards it. My relationship with sculpture is actually very primary.

Where do you find inspiration for your art?

The “at-hand” could be the very condition for artistic creation and a tool to see, to become aware of the being of what is around us, analogous to Heidegger’s proposal in Being and Time, for whom the street is a “tool to go”. When Andre uses existing materials, it is not only for their aesthetic value but also for the way they serve as tools to see the world and as tools to experience the world. Mostly in books and also, in the words of poetry.

Could you give us some insight into your creative process?

I am always looking to surprise myself in the studio, and once in the exhibition space, I feel free to play and explore things. Indeed, I am not only looking for a technical aspect that interests me in the first place but rather the sensory aspect and what a body can feel in a space. For me, it is always the question that I ask myself in front of a space.

And the second question is how to upset either the body of the spectator or the vision of the spectator. In front of Richard Serra’s steel cubes, for example, one feels different. These are questions that come in the prolongation of readings like Walter Benjamin or Henry David Thoreau who ask the question of how to look at a landscape through an object.

Home sweet home, Luke James. Photo ©Phoebé Meyer

What are your future projects?

For now, I am working on a few things, I’ll have a solo show in DOC! (Paris), which will be called Fraisse & Framboisse, the main idea will be about sculptures that revolve around other sculptures and try to attract each other, hide from each other, etc. Later, a group show in Glassbox curated by the artist Pepo Salazar and Archie Chekatouski (Paris), a duo show with Katinka Bock in Canal Satelite (89/FR) and If I am lucky, I’ll have four months with the found of donation Verrecchia in Versaille to work on stones which sounds incredible.

Interview by Fabio Pariante, journalist Twitter  Instagram


Luke James (France, 1990): InstagramWebsite