Biography

Armand Strainchamps was born in Dudelange (Grand Duchy of Luxembourg) in 1955. In 1978, he joined the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Brussels and in 1979, the National School of Visual Arts of La Cambre. In 1985, he obtained a diploma from the ENSAV of La Cambre.

Is it still necessary to present Armand Strainchamps? Who hasn’t yet raised their head in Luxembourg station and admired his frescoes of graphic and ornamental stars and constellations, projected like a map of the neo-baroque universe on the vault of this railway “Sistine Chapel”, an architectural ode celebrating modernity and a vestige of the industrial revolution?

If he likes to intervene on constructions and collaborate with architects, Armand Strainchamps is above all a painter, an element of the great Whole, who draws, as the man of the Palaeolithic did on the walls of the caves of Lascaux tens of thousands of years ago, his inspiration from nature and the cosmos. He reproduces what he sees, following an essential inner desire: why did prehistoric man also feel the need to reproduce the world? “It’s real, it’s human, it’s part of us“, answers Armand Strainchamps.

To reproduce is to copy, while adding its degree of interpretation. That’s the magic of the artist, his power. Already a student in Brussels, Armand Strainchamps is interested in engraving, but above all in the photocopier as a means of creating, contrasting, resizing, allowing him to fragment his pencil stroke, his line which becomes free, and no longer defines any boundaries, no longer draws any recognizable form. A line for a line, a shape for a shape.

This is why the artist will be attached to the trend of Copy Art. It is this splintering of the line that interests Armand Strainchamps, because it opens the space and gives the spectator the possibility to invest himself in the painting. To dream it. The artist has worked for the Rank Xerox range of photocopiers and exhibited photocopies. He discovered Photoshop and began to “tamper” with these images, manipulate them, magnify them. He photographs his future models that he will then paint. “I look at the models in magazines and as soon as I can, I tamper with them!  I also love street photography, being able to capture the moment, the gesture myself, so when I visit a city, I go hunting! »

Time and space are two fundamental components in the art of Armand Strainchamps. Cinema will therefore be decisive for him, fascinated by temporality and image, and he will produce audiovisual works himself. “Cinema and its 24 images per second have always fascinated me, because the cinematic image is fragmented as in painting. It is a movement in time. In painting, too, there are several times: spaces, motifs represented, colours. And in addition, painting becomes an object“. His paintings become stills, sequences, fragments of a film. Stills on images.

The freeze frame comes from the cinema. Slow motion and fast motion have always fascinated me. It’s fantastic what you can do with it! Reality disappears. Used in painting, the representation remains completely open. When we look at a photograph, we perceive the time passed. In painting, time is always now. »

In his “Treatise on Painting” (De Pictura, 1435), the Italian humanist Alberti defined painting as “an open window through which one can look at history“. An open window on the world, in short.

A metaphor that can be related to what Armand Strainchamps says about his work: “I feel like I’m creating windows. Framed openings, to see further or differently. By the handling of this coloured mud which, once spread out, gives each time another idea.“. The wall (of the cave, of the building), the frame of the painting, of the window, the cinema screen, the edges of the photograph, are thus mixed.

The subject becomes an actor in the paintings: “I use the people I paint as if they were film actors, they are not portraits. It’s not naturalism, it’s not concrete. I try to reinvent“. The actors are chosen randomly, almost by chance, or rather by instinct from the plethora of images that govern the world or by the whim of encounters. They are generally distracted, a little lost. “My characters are like in another world. They’re somewhere else and don’t realize what’s going on. This moment interests me. »

Moments of doubt in the lives of the protagonists of Armand Strainchamps’ painted films or “film paintings”. These actors, many actresses, out of the ordinary to be “staged” by the artist, in a reconstruction of Reality, an invention of everyday life, taking them out of their reality, technically achieved by the choice of artificial, acidulous, pop, flashy colours, flashy, borrowings from different styles (figuration, abstraction, clear line, graphic art, pop art), symmetrical shapes, mosaics, coloured stripes, reminiscent of the television grid.

Far from any naturalism, the models are unrecognizable, instrumentalized, stylized, elevated into icons, immersed in fiction, they play a role in a film by Armand Strainchamps, who is the director. A blockbuster? One moves away: “I’m not someone who paints mouths, ears or hands. This shape, before being perceived by the viewer as a nose, is just a black spot painted horizontally on the canvas.“. So, is it still necessary to present Armand Strainchamps? The man is a fan of Rooibos (a South African vanilla tea), he listens to bossa nova while he works, he likes Chuck Close’s paintings, David Hockney’s clear lines, Beat Streuli’s photographs…

Text by Didier Damiani, following an interview with Armand Strainchamps, 19 August 2016.

Career

  • 2011
    • Cultural Prize of the city of Dudelange
  • 2009
    • Filmpräis – Best Artistic Contribution
  • 2018
    • -éclats-Galerie Schlassgoart, Esch sur Alzette
    • Intégration Artistique Centre de Rencontre, Reckange-Mess
  • 2017
    • New Works – Centre d’Art Dominique Lang, Dudelange
    • Paintings  – Galerie Nosbaum-Reding, Luxembourg
  • 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

Gallery

Art Scene