Tarik Chebli | Biography

Tarik Chebli is a French painter born in Nantes in 1993. He has lived and worked between Paris and Berlin since obtaining his master’s degree in plastic arts research at the University of Rennes 2 in 2018. He is represented and exhibited by the Akié Arichi gallery in Paris since 2017.

In the paintings of Tarik Chebli there are animals – butterflies, fish, birds, and a few monkeys. There are also plants – wild grasses, hard plants, and flowers.
All this swarming in the paint thickness, in the impasto, the chaos of spots, and the polychrome marbling. Animal and vegetation arise from those produced by various random operations: jets of more or less fluid substances, agglomerations of thick pastes, intrusions of scraped traces, rubbed. At first glance, the painting can appear as the result of a jouissifying exercise. An exercise of triturating colored substances to see involuntary forms, potentially flowers or birds. However, the formation of this living world does not consist only to convert matter’s accident into shape: some fish, some birds, some flower’s corollas have been consciously drawn and colored, plated on the surface in a sort of indifference to irregularities of the support which welcomes them.
This delicate and candid manner counteracts the confidence that this painting to seems to accord the effect of an impulsive handling of materials. And it is an analogous part played by elements of another type: impastos and fluid mixtures which have not become animal or plant, which have not acquired the status of namable forms and which remain masses heavy to saturated shade, fogged and pale areas, as if to break the painting in its excesses of lyricism.
In the paintings of Tarik Chebli there are therefore tensions, discordances. This painting which balances between a pleasure of materiality and an application to reproduce figures is equivocal. It seems to express an animal and vegetable vitality as a seizure on the spot; and also, a saturated space, a world too full, buzzing, stifling, as if this idea of nature was a phantasmatic construction, the product of distant images and memories.

© Pascale Borrel




I am fascinated by the strangeness and the mystery of nature. We discover features everyday that are always more surprising than others. There is something infinite in the secrets and diversity of nature. It reassures me, I feel good in wild environments.  Our era epitomises the “disenchantment of the World” as said by Max Weber. The phenomena that were once explained by Divine magic are now explained by science. These days the severity of the consequences are less harsh when we talk about our beliefs, especially in the field of art. Painting this pristine, uninhabitable, unattainable, uncontrollable nature is a bit like a rejection of the increasingly rational man who no longer believes in magic. Our society no longer wants to leave room for the unexpected, the randomness that gives its charm to life. With technology, one tends lean towards a society of total contrôle2, risk of the unknown frightens, yet, I, I love the fear of non-control, I feel a lack of mysticism in my life and I find my happiness in what seems inexplicable, unattainable.

This is the representation of these unknown and enigmatic data, which I try to paint. I do not want my paintings to refer to our daily life, I never paint the man or his buildings, I want my paintings to think of a distant, Virgin country, which is not on any map. When I was little, I loved causing trouble, and running after the fact, I’d run as fast as I could, and when no one could catch me, i always found myself stopping, exhausted but close to nature.The problems, the worries, the human contingencies seem so insignificant when we observe an ant colony. Nature has its own life, it constantly evolves autonomously in parallel with the world of men, delving into its world is like studying something else, something superior, it is like a break, a rest, a refuge in relation to our life in society.
In the series lust, I paint a world of plants and insectoid with the most rare species, little known and strange possible as to show the infinite diversity of nature. The accumulation of elements gives a chaotic appearance to the painting, but if the painting is successful, the elements are found balanced in the composition, as united in a single movement, like a fragile ecosystem of chaotic appearance, but which in Reality, is perfectly neat. The effects of mist bring a frightening side, stifling, we do not know what is behind, the man has no place here. The same goes for my other series on the seabed. What could be more mysterious than the abysses, which are synonymous with secrets, darkness and its immensity? The abysses to me are a representation of the inaccessible, of infinity, moreover in ancient Greek “abyssos” means “without background”. To evoke this secret life in painting is a real pleasure because these creatures are as well known, we have never touched them, we can only imagine their gelatinous, viscous or rough textures, we discover new species with appearances Improbable to each new plunged into the depths, so in my paintings, a strange form, abstract, accidental, could well be the representation of a species still unknown.
The use of chance in my practice results from the fact that I notice that things done without will are much better, much more beautiful than the others made in a concerted way. I find it ironic, as if it were useless and even counterproductive to want to control what is happening. I like to pour liquid paint on a canvas on the ground, sometimes by litres, it comes to slip into the thickness of the material, when on its way it meets the still wet acrylic it mixes with, as it meets water, it is diluted in it, when it covers dry paint, the colours merge, as it dries on a white surface, the relief is of bright colour and is highlighted by the darker hollows where the liquid has stagnated. What is surprising is that the more foolish the gesture, the more the effects have a chance to be interesting.This can also be scrapings, sprays of paints, blows of rags, blows of hammer, knife, tear the canvas, burn it, cover it with different substances, aim and try combinations of different processes in order not to have the Mastery and to leave a place for surprises. I alternate phases pulsionnelles with concerted phases with figurative intent, sometimes for months, the different ways of painting will mix and feed each other. It will be possible to see elements made in a fraction of a second in violent and spontaneous way that adjoins elements made with a brush, over time, with precision and delicacy. The figurative elements convey a sense of the abstract elements, a scrape or a painting agglomeration will remind one of vegetation if a butterfly comes to rest on it. On the other hand, the abstract elements transmit to the figurative elements the retinal sensations which they provoke in the eye, due to the force of the transcribed gesture, to their colours, to their shapes and to their strange materialities. Some creatures are hidden, partially figured, and only remarked after more or less long observation, which, according to Odilon Redon, brings mystery to the painting: The sense of mystery should always reside in the ambiguity, in the Double, triple aspects, suspicions of appearance (images in pictures), shapes that are going to be, or that will be according to the state of mind of the looker.” My painting oscillates between the pleasure of the manipulation of materials and that of the reproduction of figures, I seek a certain beauty, that of tensions, of discrepancies, that of plastic acrylic paint become organic substance.




2012-2018 Master in plastic art research
Rennes, France Université Rennes2

2011-2012 Applied Arts Upgrade
Nantes, France École Pivaut

2011 General baccalaureate Economic and social series
Nantes, France Lycée Notre Dame


2015 First price, Crous Bretagne painting contest
2015 Second price, Beaux-arts contest


2019 Jeunes artistes émergents III, galerie Akié Arichi, Paris, France

2018 Enter Art Foundation, Gerichtshöfe Wedding, Berlin

2018 Jeunes artistes émergents II, galerie Akié Arichi, Paris, France

2017 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, galerie Arts et Essais, Rennes, France

2017 Jeunes artistes émergents, galerie Akié Arichi, Paris, France

2016 Hibiscus, galerie Arts et Essais, Rennes, France

2016 Salle de la Salorgne, Guerche de Bretagne, France

2015 Dashop galerie, Bordeaux, France

2015 Exposition d’art d’Ernée, France

2014 Nature Acide, Galerie de la salle bleue, Cancale, France


Born in Nantes, France on September 18, 1993.