East City Open Studio – ARCH Development Corporation Artist-in-Residence Stephan Laplanche

Stephan Laplanche in his Washington Studio.  Photo Copyright East City Art.


Open Studio Event: Saturday June 16 from 6pm to 11pm
In conjunction with the LUMEN8Anacostia Festival Finale


Unfinished canvases in Laplanche's stutio in Washington, DC. Photo Copyright East City Art.


One of ARCH Development Corporation’s current artist-in-residence, Stephan Laplanche is currently working on a series of oil paintings for Honfleur Gallery which will be show in early 2013.  During the LUMEN8Anacostia Festival finale scheduled for Saturday June 16 from 6pm to 11pm, Laplanche will open his studio to the general public.  This is an opportunity to see works in progress and to gain an appreciation of the process involved in the production process.

Born in 1970, Stephan Laplanche currently resides and works in Paris, France.  He has exhibited extensively in France, Belgium, Ukraine and is represented by Honfleur Gallery in the United States where his work was shown at the 2011 New York Affordable Art Fair and the 2011 (e)merge art fair in Washington, DC.

A description of his work follows.

An untiled work, part of Laplanche latest "American" series. Photo Copyright East City Art.


Text translated from the French by Phil Hutinet

Stephan Laplanche’s abstract painting finds itself  in conflict with contemporary art. He works in the tradition of of the second generation of abstract American expressionists such as Norman Bluhm, Alfred Leslie, Joan Mitchell thus extending the great movement known as “action painting.”

In 1985 he studies at Jonos Ber’s studios.  There he learns how to observe and is taught charcoal and oil painting techniques.  He commits himself to a pictorial perspective that confronts the problems of composition, mass and rhythms of expression.

Touched by the emotional impact of paintings by Sam Francis and Bram Van Velde, Stephan Laplanche dives into abstraction, resolved to explore the liberty and the power of expression it permits.

Observing the process of Laplanche's painting is almost as satisfying as viewing the final result. Photo Copyright East City Art.

His work always appears to be in progress.  The canvas is the theater where creation and destruction struggle. It is out of this struggle, and the traces of this struggle, from which emotions surface. The painting is the experience of time and what remains. The painting is an attempt to appropriate time and to make it a point of fusion. Using superimposed stains or structured forms, he employs colors that provoke an unstable balance.  This sense of flux creates movement, giving the impression that the work is creating itself out of its own energy.  His colors are intense, sometimes to the point of saturation. Unknown, unwanted and inconsistent colors only appear in this power struggle which he calls “l’erotique de la couleur.”

His work is found somewhere between self-affirmation, “the action” of Hartung, and the retreat, focusing on the accidental but also by according respect to the material used. Despite the incessant back and forth of his brush, he wagers that the canvas is the space in which a personal language is discovered. Color is the materialization of this personal space, it is its place and its battlefield.

For Laplanche, painting is not just the creation of an object resulting from action or personal desire. Rather, it is the meeting point of the most ancient form of human art, and the most immediate, where raw desire leaves a trace and the experience of time outside oneself mingles with a simple gesture- a brushstroke on a structure.  Laplanche recalls what Dubuffet says of this simple gesture “it is always at the limit of the most inane and miserable scribble and of a small miracle.”







Phil Hutinet
Authored by: Phil Hutinet

Phil Hutinet, a third generation Capitol Hill resident, is the publisher of East City Art, DC's Visual Arts publication, which he began in 2010. In 2012-2013, his consultancy work east of the river yielded the Anacostia Playhouse, Craig Kraft Studios, the Anacostia Arts Center and the 2012-2013 LUMEN8ANACOSTIA festivals. In 2015, he coordinated the Gateway Open Studio Tour. He currently produces EMULSION, East City Art's biennial regional juried show and oversees the ECA Foundation's Critical Arts Writing and Research Program. Hutinet has been interviewed by or has made appearances on the BBC, Capital Community News, Washingtonian, Washington City Paper, The Washington Post, WOL Radio, WJLA ABC News Channel 7/Channel 8, WTOP and other local and national media.