“Joël Person was born in 1962 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and he currently lives and works in Paris. After graduating from the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, he devoted himself to portraiture before focusing drawing horses and erotic poses. He combines the classical purity of the line with a rare intensity of expression in his paintings and drawings. Person knows the traps of virtuosity. He looks for the moment where a nervous influx or spurt of life might change the careful framework of a figure.
Since his childhood he has been fascinated by horses whose physical structure he finds to be saturated with energy. He is equally captivated by the human figure. Eluding his own figurative technique, he looks for a breaking point in the static ritual of the pose. The moment a model rears up and flees elsewhere, he captures it with a contraction of the forehead, a twisting of the shoulder, a tilt of the face; Person maintains an illusion of realism. The intense life within his portraits is not born from the expressionist style, but rather from an anxious tension. It emerges from the artist’s confrontation between the “self” with others; a sudden surge towards freedom, a raw solitude which suddenly and briefly arises between the surface of the body, and the tension of the nervous system.”
— Philippe Garnier, Les Cahiers Dessinés #9
The artist has had several solo and group exhibitions in France and China, and many institutions have taken an interest in his universe. He has participated in residencies throughout the world that testify to his international career (China, several times, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ireland, Slovenia…). His work is a part of many private collections and is present in several important collections, notably within the collection at Hermès; his drawings and paintings are exhibited in their boutiques around the world (Paris, Milan, Istanbul, Tokyo, Shanghai, Dubai and Las Vegas…). Person has also taught drawing at the Prép’Art and Atelier Hourdé. His drawing Confinement has been acquired by the musée Jenisch in Vevey, Switzerland.