Nicolas Pol: Mother of Pouacrus

The Painter Gets Messy With Verlaine in His Latest Show

For his latest show with Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld’s dealership Feedback Ltd, Paris-based Nicolas Pol zigzags throughout history for inspiration, resulting in works that reference artists from Leonardo da Vinci to Jean-Michel Basquiat. The underlying theme for the 23 new canvases that constitute Mother of Pouacrus, which opens today in a former dairy on Wakefield Street, London, is “Un Pouacre,” a poem by 19th-century badboy Paul Verlaine (famed for his tempestuous relationship with fellow wordsmith Arthur Rimbaud as well as his gloomy verse). The word “pouacre,” roughly translated, means a reprobate or villain, but Pol has taken the source in a more Lynchian direction, creating pieces full of foreboding references to pop culture, splashes and dribbles of paint, and blown-up screen prints of his own copper-etched illustrations. “They have a structure that is like a poem, a short scenario,” he says of his works. “In the studio I love to create a huge mess, pouring paint all over the canvases, treating them, folding them. You discover something happens without you really preparing it.”

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