One to Watch: Timothée Talard

A notoriously controversial contemporary artist from the heart of Marseille, 31-year-old Timothée Talard’s work shocks, surprises and engages viewers in a way that few current pieces do. His gallery-owner and friend Didier Gourvennec Ogor even feels that Talard’s life resembles certain aspects of Nan Goldin.

Talard’s inspirations are varied and bring to the spotlight aspects of life that are rarely openly spoken about. As a homosexual man he finds himself immersed in the gay community, which together with his self professed internet addiction bring him sources of inspiration from the deepest corners of the internet. Deeply private and personal acts, like sexual fetishes are thrust into the centre of modern day art as Talard chooses motifs such as skaters smelling each other’s shoes as focal points for his canvases. Other iconic Talard canvases present a police officer urinating into a man’s mouth. These images shock and draw attention to the social points that Talard may or may not be intentionally making.

Talard was a young student at Marseille’s School of Fine Arts when his pieces caught the eye of the great fashion-art giant Agnes B. In 2009, he went on to design a series of condoms with her brand in Paris. He sarcastically printed a picture of his own face on the packets along with his mobile number, writing ‘call me’. The designs were a hit. His 2012 series ‘arc-en-ciel’ presents rainbow effects on bases both black and white to show rainbows both during the day and at night. To create these pieces he uses oil, creating an almost poetic balance between such a polluting, destructive material and the beautiful, mesmerising images that can be created with it.

Talard’s photographic series ‘La Meuilleure Façon de Mourir’ is a collection of small, sepia photographs taken of nights out, crazy parties, his friends and family. To me, the collection is incredibly reminiscent of Larry Clark’s photography: it presents movement, laughter, soul and extremities found to be both outlandish yet strangely familiar – life in its purest and rawest form. Talard’s second solo exhibition, ‘Chance is a word void of sense nothing can exist without a cause’ open till the end of October at the Gourvennec Ogor Gallery in Marseille. If you have a chance to visit, I can guarantee that it will be an extremely engaging and exciting exhibition that will keep you thinking long after you have left.

French media have labelled Talard’s work controversial and subversive, but he himself maintains that he does not set out for this. He doesn’t even believe his work to be controversial, since images that would have shocked audiences just several years ago don’t have nearly the same effect today. Not one to shy away from any medium, his most recent project includes smashing two old Grecian style statues to pieces, along with it all norms and social expectations. He unapologetically and wholly expresses himself through his art. Talard looks for nothing, answers to no one and creates what he feels comes naturally.

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