Les Deux Garçons
Both Michel Vanderheijden van Tinteren (1965) and Roel Moonen (1966) graduated from the Academy of Visual Arts in Maastricht in plastic design. That is also where they met. The duo, who live in Landgraaf (L.), have worked together since 2000 by the name of Atelier Les Deux Garçons.
Les Deux Garçons’ field of activity is quite wide. Always striving for perfection in the choice of material and finishing, they make collages, paintings, bronze statues, free-style assemblages and, very prominent, sculptures of taxidermy (stuffed animals). These are absurdistic, sometimes moving sculptures with materials they find at the taxidermist but for instance also at auctions and antique dealers. Not exactly avoiding the theatrical, they frequently present their deer, lambs, piglets and other animals as Siamese twins or multiples and with attributes like toy guns, banknotes and perfume bottles which to them are symbols of fear, fate and transcience.
Humour certainly plays a role, sometimes even morbid humour. Nevertheless, their work also incites to reflection. To Les Deux Garçons themselves it stands for the earlier made choices in life which have to be dragged along and which sometimes could be a hindrance for the future too. This explains the choice of a title like ‘L’adieu impossible’ (‘The impossible farewell’), which was also the name of their first exhibition at Jaski Art Gallery in 2008. ‘La Fragilité’, the second show, in 2009, explains the same, just like ‘L’Éphémère tangible’ (2011) ‘Jeux d’Anges Heureux’ (2013), ‘La Force dus Destin’ (2013) and ‘Le Moment Gelé’ (2017).
Les Deux Garçons are becoming well-known in this country and abroad. Their works have also been shown at the famous design fair ‘Salone del Mobile’ in Milan, the Haags Gemeente Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Ludwig Forum Aachen, at the exhibition ‘Contour and Continuity’ at three Delft museums and at the exhibition ‘Bloedmooi’ at the Schielandshuis in Rotterdam, together with names like Jan Fabre, Jean Paul Gaultier and Maison Givenchy.
The ceramic museum Prinsessenhof in Leeuwarden also purchased works made by Les Deux Garçons. Choreographer Naninne Linning invited them to design the costumes and sculptures for her well received show ‘Requiem’. Their works are collected by Phillipe Niarchos (the famous Niarchos Collections include already 22 works made by them). From December 2012 until May 2013, they were the focus of a retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum Zwolle. In the early months of 2014, five works of them were part of the exhibition ‘Romantic fashion – Mr. Darcy meets Eline Vere’ IN the Municipal Museum of The Hague. During Tefaf 2016, the Vrijthof Museum in Maastricht took care of a major solo show with works from Les Deux Garçons.
In 2017, Lex Deux Garçons acted as the central figures in a tv documentary by AVRO’s Kunstuur. From December 1, that year, the Museum Beelden aan Zee in The Hague hosted the solo show ‘Les Deux Garçons Parcours’. The exhibition ‘Le Moment Gelé’ at Jaski Gallery was integrated into this museum show.
From 7 April to 25 August 2019, their exhibition “Le jugement de Darwin” took place in Oda Park Venray. In addition, work was made available for the ‘Let’s Dance! Dance fashion: from Tutu to Pattas’ in the Kunstmuseum The Hague (28/09/2019 – 12/01/2020). This museum also has two Les Deux Garçons works in the permanent collection. After ‘La Revanche’ at Jaski Gallery, their participation in the first Biënniale Roermond, besides artists like Jan Fabre en Koen Vanmechelen, and the publication of a new book about the duo, with a preface written by Edwin Becker, head of exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum, will follow in June 2020. The artists then celebrate the twentieth anniversary of their collaboration.