Jean-Luc Moulène

Bouboulina with Works on Paper (1985 – 2017)

May 15 — October 27, 2019
36 Orchard Street



Miguel Abreu Gallery is pleased to present Bouboulina and Works on Paper (1985 – 2017), Jean-Luc Moulène’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. The show will be on view at our 36 Orchard Street location.

The exhibition is comprised of a central sculpture surrounded by a sequence of thirty-three works on paper in various media, dating from 1985 to 2017. As the artist notes, “I always think by starting with a drawing. The drawing allows me to not yet work in matter, and not in language. Not writing, nor making art. It is the closest to the interior voice… Every drawing is a study. Very few are the final state of an object.” Each work is either the sketch of an idea for an object or a graphic meditation in its own right. Moulène is a prolific draftsman who can, at will, explore a riddle of geometry one day, reproduce a figure from the Kabbalah another, represent a dream sequence, make a light watercolor of a bee encountering a leaf in flight, or render an observation of rocks that metamorphosize into something that looks like an organ. This body of work offers an engaging insight into Moulène’s artistic process, one idea, one object at a time.

Bouboulina, the main object in the show, is a magnified, skin toned reproduction of a stone that fits nicely in the hand, which that artist found on a beach in Brittany. “Mannequins, such as Bouboulina and Jeanne (2016),” Moulène says, “[are] almost unaltered anthropomorphic figures. It is important to consider the question of the bone, because it is what’s left of us when we die; it constitutes our ‘core’. It is also an internal object, seen as whole when separated from the body. The lateral turning pieces in Bouboulina could form a set that would lead to issues of intersection and would end in a reconstruction of surfaces.”

Organized in collaboration with Galerie Pietro Spartà, Chagny, France.


Born in 1955, Jean-Luc Moulène studied Aesthetics and Sciences of Art at the Sorbonne University in Paris, where he currently lives and works. He participated in the Taipei Biennial (2016 and 2004), the Sharjah Biennial (2010), the First International Biennial of the Image (Laos, 2007), the Venice Biennial (2003 and 2019), the Sao Paulo Biennial (2002), and Documenta X (1997). Among the institutions that have dedicated solo exhibitions to his work are the Secession (2017), Centre Pompidou (2016-2017), Villa Medici, Rome (2015), Kunstverein Hannover (2014), Dia:Beacon (2012), Carré d’art-Musée d’art contemporain, Nîmes (2009), Culturgest, Lisbon (2007), Musée du Louvre, Paris (2005), and Centre d’Art Contemporain de Genève (2003). Moulène’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Palais de Tokyo (Paris), WIELS Contemporary Art Centre (Brussels), Witte de With (Rotterdam), ARC / Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Le Magasin (Grenoble), Grey Art Gallery (New York), Musée des Beaux-Arts de Beaune, Yokohama Museum of Art, Triennale de Milano, KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin), Museum Ludwig (Cologne), De Appel (Amsterdam), Grand Palais (Paris), Landesmuseum Joanneum GmbH Kunsthaus (Graz), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Kunstverein Nürnberg, among others. Hole, Bubble, Bump., his second solo exhibition at Miguel Abreu Gallery, was on view in the fall of 2017.

His current solo exhibition More or Less Bone is held at SculptureCenter (New York) through July 2019. His work is also currently featured in the 58th Venice Biennale, curated by Ralph Rugoff. Upcoming group exhibitions will take place at MUba Eugène Leroy (Tourcoing, France) and Miejski Osrodek Sztuki (Gorzów, Poland).

A new book by Alain Badiou, Matter and Form, Self-evidence and Surprise: On Jean-Luc Moulène’s Objects, was published by Sequence Press in the spring of 2019.