Favorite of the day: the collages of Strasbourg artist Simon Jung. In the category of artists who are underestimated because they are too discreet, we find this great curious jack-of-all-trades, who creates as much as he transforms, outside of trends. An artist designer with undeniable talent but a little disconnected from the networks, enough to go under the radar, and make himself almost elusive to do an interview. Meeting with a young man who cuts and glues imaginary worlds, bordering on reality, like the surrealist masters of yesteryear, with images found in our attics. Artistic upcycling as we like.
A jack-of-all-trades artist
If we call artists who devote themselves to collage “collagists”, Simon Jung, 33 years old from Strasbourg (and originally from Mutzig) prefers the term artist designersince it does “lots of things other than collage”. He also multiplies projects, in various fields of activity: designer on construction sites with “architects or carpenters friends” on one side, and visual artist on the other, with sculpture (since the Biennial of the Sentier des Passeurs in 2020, we can even come across some of his works in the Vosges) or, what interests us today, his paper creations.
Its versatile profile, it owes in part to a training “pretty fantastic that combined art and material science” : a DUT in Chambéry, where he shared his days between discovering materials (“physics, chemistry or technical drawing, practice of welding”) and an art school with “nude drawing, modelling, computer graphics, painting, etc”. “It was probably there that I tried collage for the first time, when you have to try all the techniques to find your style”, he explains. But he then prefers drawing and puts this practice aside. His career then continued between Besançon, Paris and Strasbourg, between university studies and formative experiences in the field of design. Always with one foot in art and one in science, since “scientific thought pattern [l’]has always seduced ».
And then travels: following his heart, he escapes for a time to Sweden to make his life there. If her love story ends soon after, he makes a decisive encounter with the team of the Love Foundation Stockholm which plunges him back into ” [ses] old notebooks ». By offering them to make posters for their events, he shows them his “old collages” who the « packing[ent] ». Simon, rich in new experiences, then goes back to this technique that he had left aside at the time: “I really felt that collage appealed to me more”.
Doctor Frankenstein of Upcycling
At the same time, he returns to Alsace, without money and with everything to redo, and Emmaüs Scherwiller approach by “created[ant] on the nerve a job »as material recycling manager where he will remain for 2 ½ years. If he already had ecological convictions, this experience confirms him in the idea that ” really there is no point in creating something newthere is plenty to do with second-hand, user, “waste” for some “.
“A little Frankenstein”he then remanufactures furniture from the remains of others, and above all: he “fall[e] in the bin of Emmaus books”. Simon specifies that if “they check and resell the books very well, but that doesn’t prevent their paper recycling bin from being full to bursting”.
There is then easy access and little by little, builds up a stock and refines his technique: ” I remember that I came back every day with a dozen poundson everything and anything, fish, plants, volcanoes, space, Paris Match, photo magazines… As long as there were interesting colors and textures, I took, and if I came across characters that were a little crazy or in funny positions, I took it too! I just never liked glossy paper: it marks too quickly, and shines too much. This is where I refined my technique, I found colors, textures, shapes that were made to go together when they were sometimes decades apart. “. He first started by scanning them to work on Photoshop, but ended up abandoning digital for good, a “true pride” for him, who prefers the constraint of “true paper shape/color/texture”.
He has since left Emmaüs, and settled down as a visual artist – including a time in Berlin where he meets people and starts selling his creations on the markets. Today in Strasbourg, he plunges back into salvaged creation (sculpture in wood and rusty metal), and continues his collages. It keeps the taste of “rummaging through the Emmaüs, flea markets”for the raw material. Good plan: his relatives also contact him before “throw away their parents’ books”. He never gets his supplies on the internet and confides “love[er] many the old Courrier International, or the old encyclopedias, those where the images are painted”.
Surrealism, its hobby
Without surprise, he declares to have always liked the work of the surrealists and the dadaists, because “they manage to mix our senses”. Inspirations that are easily found in his creations, because from these archives of the past, Simon reshapes a reality, rewrites a world. Between pure surrealism and a “common imagination” with which he has fun. ” All these images that I find and collect are nothing but remnants of a time. If my collages speak to people, it’s also, I think, because I don’t retouch the found image, and perhaps in the millions of images that we have already seen passing by, those that I use in be part of “.
If he prefers not to use public figures in his creations (so as not to « bridle[r] our global vision of the image » or skew the direction of the reading), we find in one of them, Hitler, whom he places surrounded by people with trisomy 21. “It pleased me to make Hitler uncomfortable”he slips.
Simon explains leaving generally “of a subject, human or not, whole or not, but something central that will lead to the sequel”currently preferring work on seriesgiving as an example his latest find: “I got my hands on some very old Club Vosgien hiking maps, it’s magnificent. I don’t have anything specific yet, but I already know that I’m going to make several collages whose background will be these cards”.
In addition to its series, Simon creates fanzines that can be found for free or at a free price at the bend of a cultural event or in bars. He calls them the Pasted/Copied, “because it’s really raw creation in front of my big old-fashioned photocopier”. A project born during confinement, ” on a whim “, with the only constraint being the six-page format, and that “reading is done in A5 while reading, but also in A4 in loose-leaf mode”. A challenge that allows him to extract himself and “uninhibited[r] » longer bonding and “sometimes too specific” paintings.
A la carte tarot
Having neither resisted the temptation to take a Pasted/Copied during the last Gros Bordel du Graffalgar, nor to that of regularly leaving with his postcards during sales-expos, I must admit that I also fell for his Tarot. A project born with a friend of his. A research work launched with several hands around the divinatory games and the meaning of the cards. He came back with a version closer to“a question and answer game” pure divination, but inspired by it.
“It’s interesting as a game because the symbolism of the cards has been relatively unchanged for centuries, but their visuals have often changed. Discovering this, I felt completely legitimate to offer my own interpretation of these powerful symbols. what is force, justice or the moon. I even had to make several versions of a map before I was satisfied. So I produced each of the 22 major blades”.
Under frame, the originals come out from time to time for occasional exhibitions, but it is possible to acquire a reproduction, with the instructions to try it yourself. He also takes advantage of fairs and markets to draw cards for the public, ” [sa] uninhibited way »while specifying that it is above all a ” Game “ of tarot.
In the ferries, Simon also really wants to get down to urban collagefor which he would like design works in situ or transpose previous creations to the street. Moreover, for the next few months, this great curious person has no shortage of projects… He is looking for a place to set up with his association Tiers-Temps, a third place oriented culture, arts and SSE courses ( social and solidarity economy) ; and alongside Malu Francehe launches into the scene ‘for Mismo, a rapper from the Espace Django nursery. And soon, if you feel like it: he will lead an upcycling workshop at the Maison Citoyenne on May 10, during their Vide Grenier Festif du Neudorf.
To discover the work of Simon Jung
We want to give thanks to the author of this article for this remarkable material
He searches our attics to create: meeting with Simon Jung, a jack-of-all-trades artist from Strasbourg
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