Axel Roy (1989) is a visual artist born in Paris and based in Utrecht. He first studied a scientific Bachelor, and then pursued artistic studies at the Beaux-Arts Academy in Dijon (2014). A year later he moved to China, where he studied at art schools in Hangzhou and Shanghai. Roy has exhibited internationally, with his most recent show at H Gallery in Atelier Richelieu, Paris (2021). He has also been nominated for numerous awards, including the Royal Award for Modern Painting and the Royal Drawing Prize Pierre and David-Weill.
Roy’s practice explores people’s behaviour driven by social interactionism. He focuses on human flows in public spaces and processes these movements through an array of media including drawing, painting and performance. As a student of movement, his work is heavily grounded on the philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s idea that images cannot be treated as ‘fixed frames’ but as elements in content flux. Following this notion of flux, the artist uses negative space and monochromatic or limited palettes to emphasise an unfinished, fragmentary quality in his compositions. In Roy’s view, this range of aesthetic resources invites viewers to build upon his pieces and expand their imagination to unexplored, ever-shifting terrains.
Roy’s spatial investigation of human social interactions could be seen as an artistic manifestation of the academic notion of socially produced space (Lefebvre). Perhaps it is by moving and interacting with one another that we create and take ownership of our cities. In that sense, when an artist adapts their practice to a given space, they are creating it anew.