* 1956 Nantes
Jean-Charles Blais was born at Nantes (Loire-Atlantique) on 22 October 1956; at eighteen he enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in Rennes, where he studied for five years. From the early 1980s the work of the Nouveaux Réalistes, Pop art and arte povera as represented by Mario Merz, especially the works known as affiches arrachées (torn-down posters), have been constitutive for Blais's own work. They mark his departure for a new type of painting determined by the material of the support. After observing tattered advertising posters pasted one over the other, Blais developed a pictorial language that was more concerned with the space articulated 'behind' the surface than the two-dimensionally formulated message conveyed by the surface itself. Multi-layering of materials and an eye for the coincidental patterns created by edges and folds generate associative structures from which Blais works out representational motifs, figurative elements, houses and animals, plants or tools - on the back. Numerous one-man shows in France, later in Germany and the US as well, have made Jean-Charles Blais's work known to a broader public since the 1980s. His first large-scale work in a public space attracted a great deal of attention in 1990: Jean-Charles Blais was charged with decorating the Assemblée Nationale Métro station in Paris. This project was followed in 1996 by 'Telephone Booths' for the exhibition entitled 'Thinking Print' mounted by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Since the turn of the century, Blais has been exploring digital technologies and new materials.