Biography

Armand Strainchamps was born in Dudelange, Luxembourg in 1955. In 1978, he joined the Académie Royale des Beaux Arts in Brussels and in 1979, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels in La Cambre. In 1985, he graduated from the ENSAV in La Cambre. Armand Strainchamps is a renowned artist. Who has never seen the magnificent ceiling frescoes in the main hall of the train station in Luxembourg? Armand Strainchamps is a grand painter, whose inspiration comes from nature and the universe in general, just like the Palaeolithic men in the Lascaux cave thousands of years ago before him. He replicates what he sees, while asking himself the same questions the cavemen did back then: “Why do I feel the urge to replicate the world?” “It is a real and innate feeling, something that’s inside every human being”, says Armand Strainchamps. To replicate is to make a copy with a touch of personal interpretation. That’s the artists’ gift. Armand Strainchamps has developed an interest for engraving while studying in Brussels. However, he used copy-machines to create contrasts in different sizes, allowing his pencil drawings to be free without any limitations. A line for a line, a shape for a shape. That is why Armand Strainchamps has been associated with Copy Art. This artistic revolution is of great interest to Armand Strainchamps, as it opens space and gives the audience the opportunity to dive deeper into the painting and dream it. Armand has worked with the brand Rank Xerox and exhibited photocopies. With Photoshop, he started “transforming” his images. he took pictures of his future models prior to painting them. “I look at these models in magazines and then I instantly want to transform them! I also like street photography. Whenever I visit a city, I try to capture the moment!” Time and space are two essential concepts in his art. He also developed a strong interest for movies and audiovisual works. “Movies and their 24 images per second have always fascinated me, because the image in a movie is fragmented, just like a painting. It’s a movement in time. There are also different “times” in painting: spaces, patterns, colours. The painting eventually becomes an object”. His paintings become stills, sequences and fragments of a film. So-called freeze frames. “Freeze frames first appeared in movies. Slow-motion and fast-forward are fascinating to me. It’s quite extraordinary when you think about what you can do with it! Reality fades away unlike in a painting. When you look at a photograph, you can actually see the time that has passed. In a painting, the time is always now.”

In his “De Pictura” (On Painting Pictura, 1435), the Italian humanist Alberti defined painting as being “an open window from which we can view history“. In other words, a window that opens up the world. Armand also uses this metaphor when talking about his work: “I feel like creating windows, which allows us to see things differently. Each time I use colours on canvasses, the end-result differs”. The wall (of the cave or the building), the frame of the painting, of the window, the movie screen, the edges of the photographs are thus intertwined. The subject of the painting becomes an actor: “I see the people I paint as movie actors. These are not to meant to be portraits. It’s not Naturalism. It’s not tangible. I try to reinvent painting”. Armand finds his subjects by looking at thousands of pictures online or in magazines, sometimes even after an actual encounter. Usually, they are rather absent-minded, sometimes even lost. “My characters are no longer in this world. They don’t even know what’s going on around them. These are the moments I try to capture. I like to call them film paintings”. These actors and actresses find themselves in an altered reality. In order to create this world, Armand uses flashy colours (like the ones used in Pop-Art), symmetrical forms, mosaics and coloured stripes. Unlike in Naturalism, the models are unrecognisable, stylised, icon-like, fictional. They play a part in Armand Strainchamps’ film paintings. “I don’t necessarily paint mouths, ears or hands. The form that can be identified as a nose is actually a black spot painted horizontally on the canvas.” Armand likes to drink Rooibos tea and listen to bossa nova music when he is working. He likes painters such as Chuck Close, David Hockney, but also photographers such as Beat Streuli… Written by Didier Damiani after an interview with Armand Strainchamps conducted August 19, 2016.

Career

  • 2011
    • Prix Culturel de la ville de Dudelange
  • 2009
    • Filmpräis – Meilleure contribution artistique
  • 2016
    • Arrêts sur images, House 17, organisée par Art Work Circle
    • The same as 10 times 16, Banque Internationale à Luxembourg
  • 2015
    • Galerie d’Art Municipale Diekirch
  • 2014
    • Galerie Dominique Lang – Dudelange
  • 2011
    • Galerie Dominique Lang – Dudelange Ambassade du Luxembourg – Berlin
  • 2010
    • Couleurs d’archives – Archives nat. de Luxembourg
  • 2009
    • Ernst & Young – Luxembourg
  • 2008
    • Galerie Dominique Lang – Dudelange
  • 2005
    • Galerie Dominique Lang – Dudelange
  • 2004
    • Exposition Banque Internationale à Luxembourg
    • 8ième Quinquennale d’Art Contemporain de la ville d’Esch-sur-Alzette (e. c.)
  • 2003
    • Prix d’Art Robert Schuman Luxembourg (e. c.)
  • 2002
    • Galerie Dominique Lang – Dudelange
  • 2000
    • Galerie Dominique Lang – Dudelange
  • 1999
    • Peinture murale dans le nouveau Centre Sportif de Dudelange
    • Toile décorative au chantier de la BGL, Bv. Royal
  • 1998
    • Peinture murale bâtiment I P L Luxembourg
    • Artemania – CAL Tutesall Luxembourg (exposition collective)
  • 1997
    • Peinture murale au site de la villa romaine à Walferdange
    • Galerie Dominique Lang – Dudelange
  • 1996
    • Galerie La Cité Exposition Internationale de la Peinture, Cagnes-sur-Mer France (e. c.)
    • Stèles pour notre temps -Banque Internationale Luxembourg (e. c.)
    • New Art in Luxembourg – Tokyo et Kanazawa – Japon. (e. c.)
    • Cercle Artistique de Luxembourg (e. c.)
  • 1995
    • Les colonnes de l’Agence Grand’Rue de la BGL
    • Sur invitation… Galerie La Cité (e. c.)
  • 1994
    • Galerie Municipale Esch-sur-Alzette Centre
    • Copy-Art, Montréal Canada
    • Peinture au Plafond de la Gare de Luxembourg
  • 1993
    • Carte blanche à … J-P Schneider, Centre Culturel Français, Luxembourg (e. c.)
    • Peinture murale au Hall Omnisports de l’Athénée à Luxembourg
    • Galerie Art Wall + B. New York USA (e. c.)
    • 100ème Anniversaire Cercle Artistique de Luxembourg (e. c.)
    • Galerie Bettina Mickan Wiesbaden Allemagne (e. c.)
  • 1992
    • Centre Copy-Art, Montréal Canada
    • Cercle Artistique de Luxembourg (e. c.)
    • Série Limitée 6, Château de Stadtbredimus, Luxembourg
    • Galerie La Cité “Petits Formats” (e. c.)
  • 1991
    • Galerie La Cité -Espace 2, Luxembourg
    • Melkfabriek Sittard, Pays-Bas (e. c.)
    • Cercle Artistique de Luxembourg (e. c.)
  • 1990
    • Galerie La Cité, Luxembourg (e. c.)
    • Peinture murale au Centre Sportif René Hartmann, Dudelange
    • Cercle Artistique de Luxembourg (e. c.)
  • 1989
    • Cercle Artistique de Luxembourg (e. c.)
  • 1987
    • Berchem-Anvers Combiné luxembourgeois (e. c.)
  • 1985
    • ISELP, Bruxelles “Travaux en cours” (e. c.)
  • 1984
    • Les Angles, Avignon (e. c.)
  • 1980
    • Galerie Dominique Lang Dudelange

Interview

Creative process

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