Nicolas Maureau, modern day myths & allegories

The Sewers

By revisiting the recurring themes of the iconography of “classical” painting, the work of Nicolas Maureau questions its persistence in our contemporaneity. Of these themes often unknown, forgotten, fuzzy, of which he does not take all the elements suitable to identify them, he retains the titles, which do not give the whole key to the represented invite to the interpretation. An intertextuality is woven, the forgotten narrative leaves room in the imaginary common to works, books, sciences.

Working in series, (Victims Martyrs Heroes, Metamorphoses, Noli Me Tangere, Genre Scene) Nicolas Maureau establishes a dialogue between the works. The scenes respond to each other, each functioning as the word of a wider lexical field. The similarities of certain positions absorb the narrative by making it interchangeable. By hiding the background, the black flattening that surrounds the bodies places them in a common space.

The Washers

In Scenes of Genre it explores the works that grouped in this category are interested in the daily, the popular. He understands the word gender in its present sense of gender studies to bring about the construction of masculine and feminine identities. By making an inversion of the roles usually attributed to each of the two sexes (the sewers, the washers, the ragpicker), it makes visible the artifice of the cultural assignments.


The problem of the class struggle underlying the production of the nineteenth century, the century in which genre scenes experienced their greatest success, fades away without disappearing, as other myths have done before it. This envelopment of thoughts, of narratives, which intertwine to form the pavement on which we walk without thinking, is what traverses the whole of his work. Irrigating our imaginary underground, myths tell us about our societies, about us in them. They reveal to us their persistence, they stutter with us.
Nicolas Maureau
Jun 17, 2017

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