Different sets of paradoxes unfold in Mr. Lolo’s works : aesthetic, cultural, sexual. Multiple and single. Darkness and brightness. Decadence and purity, Street and boudoir. Filter and poison. Double identity. This constant game with deception shows up as much in his subjects as in his technique.
A rustic sublime
Apparently nothing is more rustic, in terms of pictorial technique, than the stencil. In general, the use of cutting up and spray paint composes flat, rudimentary works doomed to multiple use and fast degradation. With an uncanny skill akin to total devotion, Mr. Lolo affirms and proves the opposite. He changes the use of stencil, and embezzles the meaning of sublime. With the same acute sense of detail found in painters and poster artists of Art Nouveau, he overcomes the common prejudice. As once phrased by Philippe Fontaine, his stencils seem to have been cut up not by a cutter, by a surgical scalpel. Accuracy is here of the essence. By using a mixed technique of acrylic, aerosol ink and spangle, he lends volume, expression, suavity, and a disturbing blur to his portraits, denying to the stencil its prime quality of infinite duplication. These works are unique. The hand-glued spangle emphasizes the contrast, bright or quicksilver.
Obviously, the series of paradox disturb the layman and the crude minds. The single multiple, damn, is a bizarre concept to grasp. This work reeks of the uncertainty and the decadence of the 1930’s. To whom remembers Marie Dubas, Fréhel, handsome legionnaires whose eyes showed reflections of orange and light, the agony of coke, the seamy steam of opiates, the shady cabarets, Blue Angel with a high top and a bow tie, the bright eyes of Garbo, we’re back into the muddy waters of To Have and To Have not. But strangely enough, Mr. Lolo resuscitate eccentric phantoms from another galaxy, he unwinds the same line that goes far back into the Dark Ages, according to maestro Fellini and his adaptation for the screen of Petrone’s Satyricon.
From the 1930’s to the new burlesque
This distinctive taste for characters and faces embodying trouble, ambiguity, transgression has been forged through personal experience. Nothing is borrowed here, no fake. Mr. Lolo is reflected in his pictures. He lives in them, performs them like an actor. His training is a major in hairdressing, as Fabrice Luchini. In 1980 — barely 20 years old — he lands on the stage of a weirdo cabaret, the Rocambole. In a steamy ambiance, he performs a transvestite number staged by Pascal Chevalier, household name in music-hall, and learns stage make-up inside out. The Rocambole is a remix of Pigalle’s cabarets, of Alcazar, of Fabrice Emaer’s Palace, of the then creepy wave, displaced in Paris suburbs. The Rocambole had started on Île St-Louis, but relocated in Villecresne. Mr Lolo performed four years on its stage.
Now, his family portraits get easier to understand. Characters you could run in with the painters George Grozs or Otto Dix. Psychopathic artists as W.S. Burroughs, writing with his soft machine and his 22. Rifle. Klaus Nomi, the soprano singer struck by lightning. A soured Bette Davis, as in What ever happened to Baby Jane ? Liza Minelli in Cabaret. The 1980’s night shining stars : Coccinelle, Marie-France, Leigh Bowery, Boy George… Further than that, a whole bestiary full of doomed and looming figures, from Edith Piaf to Buster Keaton, or Tallullah Bankhead.
Mr. Lolo continued to perform on stage until the mid 1990’s : music-hall, parodies, transvestite’s shows. He lives in a world of theater cast on tour, surrealists transvestites with the Los Lolos de Paris, crisscrossing France at night, where as wrote Nathanian Kurkowitz, the cast would make a slaughter of Damia’ and Fréhel’s tunes with castanets singing Marie Dubas’ Le Tango Stupéfiant covering from Nitta Jô’s to Serge Gainsbourg repertoires. They appear at the Palace, Soirées de la Chica, Théâtre de Dix heures, Regine’s, El Barrio, On TV channels such as Paris Première or Canal +, or even Cheap TV, parody of a cable channel where Mr. Lolo performs the TV anchor Simone Grazziani…
Alongside this Dadaist music-hall Mr. Lolo is a founder othe artist’s association Nuisibles, fighting the spread of AIDS among other things, with the graphic artist Prince Vaillant and the songwriter Philippe Fontaine. The association referring to the album zutique — by the poets Rimbaud, Verlaine, Cros — publishes a fanzine named Zut ! paying homage to the famous Sonnet du trou du cul, (asshole sonnet), with street artists Miss. Tic and Paëlla Chimicos, authors like Hélèna Villovitch, Cunéo, Beau Geste, David TV, the fashion designer Rafik and other household names of the Parisian underground.
In 1987 after meeting Miss.Tic, the poet, the femme fatale, Mr. Lolo starts to be involved full time in street stenciling. They crisscross Paris together : walls, facades, Pigalle bars, fashionable clubs. The hot pursuits with cops fighting depredation and street vandalism were often doomed, ending up in sobering cells. A warhorse sick of trials and fines, Mr. Lolo hangs up his gloves, and starts to use the stencil in the intimacy of his artist’s studio. Many shows and publications will follow. Thus, the transvestite adolescent becomes an honest to God painter in the mid 1990, without reneging on his past, his elliptical resume reuniting him with his idols, whom he continues to interpret to this day.
Kiss of Death
He, nicknamed by Philippe Fontaine The blade-thrower “Having to surround his partner as close as possible without touching her ever “ knows the dangers of embrace. A whole series of paintings is devoted to the famous Hollywood kisses Ava Garner and Gregory Peck, Viviane Leigh and Clark Gable, Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart… but Mr. Lolo throws a shade on these Hollywood romances, an evil shade… The shade of AIDS, that he fights through Nuisibles. He has several series (Protège-toi mon amour, or Pas si folle) broaching on the theme. For the time being, he goes on with his journey full of divinities, screen beauties, female devils, immortal goddesses. Lovers, girlfriends, sisters.