Both elegant and audacious, Frédéric Platéus turns a charismatic balance of high art and pop culture into succinct and seductive design.
Platéus’ work has exquisite visual clarity. A self-taught artist, he aestheticises a wealth of his own interests, many of which are not overly familiar in the art world: motorsports, weapons, and space travel, to name a few. From futuristic chaise lounges, to re-imagined Rubik’s cubes, and voluptuous abstract forms, Platéus’ varied work is unified by its clean lines, lustrous textures, and impeccable design.
- Work in collections inc. BPS22, Parliament of the French Community of Belgium, National Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, Art Commission of the Walloon Region
- Solo show, Panic Rev, at Ruttkowski 68, Köln, 2019
- Group show, YO, at Bozar, Brussels, 2017
- Group show, Available for Reference at Yoko Uhoda, Liège, 2016
- Solo show, Extravagant Traveler, at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Grand-Hornu, 2014
His signature “Anabolic Panels” are large rectangular reliefs that contain bulging PVC compositions. Carefully designed, then cut from wood, stretched, and sealed with heat onto custom-made PVC, the works have an immaculate finish that is slick and flawlessly balanced. Using high-gloss primary colours along with white, silver, and the occasional neon, the works evoke a deconstructed car showroom, seating booth in a New York Diner, or an inflatable Mondrian.
Plateus’ Extravagant Traveler crystallises a nostalgic futuristic fantasy. The portable plane-like vessel that takes its name from a song by eccentric rapper Kool Keith, is made out of red and silver steel with bolts reminiscent of early Fledgling aircrafts of the 1920s. Screen-printed across the work are various logos and graffiti tags. As if lifted from the set of Barbarella, Star Trek, or Tank Girl, Extravagant Traveller provides a vintage idea of the future by evoking the aspirational histories of the past. It is this relationship between nostalgia and futurism that gives the work a comical self-awareness: resting on a trailer instead of a plinth, Extravagant Traveler took mundane trips around the local area during its exhibition. As it blundered its way up the majestic and lavish staircase to Grand Hornu’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the work’s endearing obsolescence playfully interrogated our relationship to the futures of our past.
Through re-appropriating weaponry, Platéus punctures an archetypal boyish fantasy. Assembling guns as wall-reliefs in his distinctive vinyl-wrap aesthetic, the works are magnificently brash. Smaller pieces such as MK5-160 (2019) and MK4-170 (2019), present more ambiguous shapes that tend towards abstraction: either sci-fi sex toy or camp zombie-gun, the works feel distant from the viciousness of their materiality. While MK10-400 (2019) and MK10-360 (2019) are more clearly representational of the weapons that they depict, with their almost comical up-scale, and bright, eye-catching hues, they too do not carry the weight of real-world brutality. Instead of evoking symbols of violence, the works embody an idealized, yet playful fantasy associated with boyhood. However, through their childish cheekiness, the works are draped in deliberate irony that undermines the archetypes that they draw from. Both enigmatic and instantly accessible, Platéus’ refreshing artistic vision brings gloss, humor, and vintage futurism to the contemporary art world.
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