« Living in the city is like living in a comic strip »
Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle, Jean-Luc Godard, 1967
Looking at the works of Prosper Legault, the luminous sign is what we first spot, the one that was already there to catch our eye throughout the city, long before the artist came to rip it off from the storefronts. The works are composed of panels, menus, logos, shop signs, maps, trashes, and make the neon lights dancing. The sculptural forms are self-defined by the objects they integrate. "Untitled, mixed techniques, variable dimensions" is the cartel that one could easily imagine under each work of the artist. Hybrid, bastard forms, operating through an assembly of signs and ending up losing their semantic value to become sculptures.
"Living in the city is like living in a comic strip", high-speed successions of narrative sequences blurring one?s eye until the city dweller ends up blind, drowned by the images. Nevertheless, there are those ones who keep on staring at the signs with an almost childish fascination. This is what the artist brings to the eye: the changing urban décor. It requires to move fast, spot the next sign threatening to be replaced. Prosper Legault's practice could be described as frenetic. He wanders in the street like a painter inside Sennelier's, returns to the studio, assembles, welds, deconstructs, rebuilds, at the speed of a big city. Yet, it is not a matter of a DIY aesthetic. The works give rise to a laughter, the puns made up by the assembly of signs get you, "rebus de rebut" as Prosper would say, then, one ends up admitting the autonomous and aesthetic quality of each work, always right and with final touches comparable to a marble finish. The offhand attitude of a punk gesture orchestrated by the rigor of a welder.
These signs speak of a Paris. North Paris, from Saint-Ouen, Boulevard Ney to the Goutte d'or, Marx Dormoy, Château Rouge. The Paris of Ramen spots juxtaposed with massages parlor with final touch. The Paris where night-time shops illuminate the streets when everyone is asleep. That is when the neon lights take over, at nightfall, the exact same ones found in the artist's compositions. These convenience stores fascinate the artist, the series "Génération Alimentale" evokes this relationship. The anastrophe strips the word apart, it is what these works are about, emptied signs, a generation living in the city looking for meaning in life, an upside down comic strip, a world that keeps on spinning when everyone is asleep.