The drawings of FSTN
Sharp and meticulous, virulent and thought-provoking, the eerie drawings of Brussels-based artist Pierre Coubeau, known as FSTN, reveal fragments and gestures defining a world of contradiction and deceit, where nothing is what it seems.
Despite its title, the ‘Joy’ series is a representation of simulated happiness and perverted innocence. Apparently fun and playful, each activity feels rather perilous at a closer look, suggesting instability, insecurity and uncertainty. The artist depicts a temporary state based on an unreliable equilibrium – the risk of falling is strongly present, anticipating the fall. Yet the characters appear to be unperturbed by this situation. The children are not cheerful and enthusiastic either. The young figures are apathetic, dissatisfied or annoyed, and even malicious. Some wear bags or boxes on their heads, ironically with smiley faces on them, with their identities censored by these improvised masks.
The posture of the girl in the ‘She’ drawing reminds of a puppeteer and may highlight, in this regard, the idea of control and manipulation. It is interesting, however, that the clothing is the same for all the three girls – they may be a team involved in or practicing for a sort of competition. A sense of strangeness and also a certain tension emerge from the second drawing, ‘He’, due to the unclear relationship between the boy and the adult – is the adult the parent or perhaps a reflection of the same boy at an older age?
In the series of works titled ‘TOY’, headless dark silhouettes of men handling infant and robot toys puzzle the viewer. Their intentions are unknown. They seem harmful, wanting to dominate the tiny objects they hold captive. And somehow they are caught in their own schemes, not only pulling the strings but ending wrapped in them. Finally, the ‘Orde et Désordre’ series proposes a new language using hand gestures to create a code of signs, a non-verbal array of possible connections and translations.
She / Joy series, graphite on paper, 109×55 cm, 2016
He / Joy series, graphite on paper, 109×55 cm, 2016
TOY #1 (Infantia), ball-point pen on paper, 100×74 cm, 2016
TOY #2 (Infantia), pencil on paper, 100×74 cm, 2016
TOY #3 (Infantia), graphite on paper, 100×74 cm, 2016
Orde et Désordre series, ballpoint pen on paper, 22×32 cm, 2016
Images © Pierre Coubeau – FSTN