Having grown up in the French countryside, Yann Le Bec has long been fascinated by the beauty and banality of rural life. “I wanted to explore a landscape that no one was interested in,” he says. “The fields, deserted villages, ugly allotments, and non-bucolic industrial farms are always evolving and integrating new technology in vernacular ways.”
Influenced by landscape photographers like Robert Adams, Stephen Shore, and Raymond Depardon—all known for their interest in peripheral people, moments, and locations—Le Bec’s drawings are anchored in the strange territory between fact and fiction, inspired by the drama of everyday life and film noir mise-en-scène in equal measure.
“I’m feeding myself with fiction, graphic novels, and cinema, as well as painting and photography. I love how these media can work in enigmatic, non-linear narratives where the most important elements are often out of sight and untold.”
This principle features throughout his exhibition, Dog Days, currently on show at London’s KK Outlet. The drawings depict the suspenseful and innocuous rural landscape in narratives that function both as individual tales and as a series.
There is a constant sense of being about to see, or just missing the moment that ties it all together, lending the show an atmosphere of cinematic suspense, and the viewer the role of detective or voyeur. Le Bec puts this down to his subscribing to “the golden rule of the Fantastique genre: the less you put in, the more there is. You need to suggest the fantasy, but it will always be more powerful when it is invisible.”
It’s this ambiguity that makes Dog Days so interesting; whether it’s in the curve of an empty road, a shirtless man perspiring profusely as he writes a note, or a seemingly abandoned delivery truck, the story shifts in tone with the mood of its audience. This is exactly how Le Bec likes it. “If I was showing the action, there would be no doubt left… it’s this wavering that I am interested in, because it allows multiple interpretations.”