Xavier Thomen, 1957.
Curriculum vitae in PDF

Born in the Parisian suburbs, Xavier Thomen left his ''cité des chênes'' (the 'Oak tree' estate) to pursue his studies in fine arts at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Metz.

In his house and atelier on the edge of the forest in Lorraine, he finds his materials and inspiration in his everyday surroundings.

Leaving aside simple paintings for rich and diverse works, Xavier Thomen makes the most of his personal vision of the world, greatly shaken after a destructive flood of the river running alongside his house.
The precipitated construction of makeshift rafts for the works of art that had escaped his flooded atelier constitute earthly floaters today or ghosts, a recurring theme in his work.

The rupture caused by this ''natural catastrophe'', propulses the project of the artist to the infinitely great, or the heavenly vault, a vision which illustrates portraits such as tête de comète sur le vif or his constellations, a kind of hommage to portulans or the circum navigatio. And curiously, this infinitely great work, beyond transcendence, forms a shelter, a sort of matrix.

The subsidence of a number of houses built above old mineshafts in a neighbouring village, and the temporary rehousing of those living there add to the superimposition of the painful past and difficult conversion of this former mining region.

Using abundantly the metallic debris of which his house and surroundings are packed, and adding pieces of wood transported by the river, Xavier Thomen opposes a whole system of salvation with the fragility of mankind and of his constructions.

Among paintings, collages, sculptures and installations he deploys his planches de salut, his flotteurs, his tuteurs, his passerelles, or his metallic and wooden pilotis, defined with shiny colours and golden surfaces which reflect sunlight as much as the problems specific to the reflection of a mirror.

Barbara Bay,
Frac Alsace.