Mr Garcin came to public attention in 2012 when one of his works was used by Marvell as the cover art for #700 of The Amazing Spiderman: an impressive collage of cut-outs of all the figures out of Spiderman’s printed adventures reassembled as an oversize rendering of one of his eyes. In no way was Mr Garcin’s emergence a thing of chance, rather it was the culmination of a long-held obsession and a re-appropriation that reaches far beyond the sort of cynical referencing all too often associated with contemporary pop culture icons.
Very much like a DJ, Mr Garcin has been cutting out and piecing together elements from graphic works since he was a child. His inspiration draws on the plethora of comics and manga that accompanied the early years of recent generations, material populated by heroes who represent an ideal of justice and morality and began aging at the same time as their fans – Batman, remember, is now 77 years old.
Abandoning youthful visions of conqueror and superhuman adventurer, Mr Garcin turned his attention to graphical aspects, stressing the production process, paratext and the emotional identification created in readers. Taking things further, he has embraced an interpretation of superheroes that can be seen as a critical extension of the new contemporary mythology they have brought into being. By populating his works and re-workings with these apparitions and multiple personas, Mr Garcin does more than bring a tradition to life. He builds a graphic discourse on the repetition and endless transformation of characters who have faced thousands of villains, changed with the times and responded to societal developments, while retaining a unique visual signature in the form of a recognisable brand.
His desire to represent the totality of their historical journey in a glance by means of a sort of outsize stained glass window gives life to the sacred nature of these characters today. Mr Garcin is of course also echoing the data overload of our age and its accompanying uber-representation. We are confronted both with the aging of used-up heroes and their transformation into empty and ubiquitous symbols, our attachment all the more poignant in that the artist does nothing to hide methods of manufacture and emotional re-appropriation of bygone eras and distant dreams always returning to the artform’s unsurpassable essence. The graphically striking aspect of these forms, born out of accumulation, recalls both of the monstrosity and power of these « logos », which now unite us more effectively than any political discourse. In this, Mr Garcin finds himself less in a laudatory than a revelatory role.
Following its initial success, his work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions and one solo show, held at the Arludik gallery in Paris in 2015, a sign of growing public interest in his methodology.
By Michael Verger / Traduction by Jack Sims