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Jean-Pierre Sergent

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- 12 CRITICAL TEXTS BY MARIE-MADELEINE VARET (PHILOSOPHER) ABOUT THE WORK OF JPS [2013 - 2024]

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A big thank you to my dear friend Marie-Madeleine Varet, who has followed my work with passion and interest since we met in 2013 and who since then has written about my work in progress with great lightning, deep and curious interest with always her very generous and fraternal thoughts as in a through soul mate relationship. Here are these 12 small critical texts, which are, for me as an artist, some real gifts, real little jewels, and I hope they can serve as a can-opener and could reveal the deep meanings of my art, so that the public can discover my work in a much more joyful, intimate, global and universal way, than they seem to feel and misunderstand it to this day...


- ABOUT THE FILMED INTERVIEW BETWEEN JEAN-PIERRE SERGENT AND JOHNES RUTA [April 21, 2024]


In Jean-Pierre Sergent's workshop ...
An immersive, multi-sensory space.
An organic, immemorial power where the echo of testimony vibrates, in the sense given to it by Jean Cocteau: "There are murderous paintings. I mean that, without any visible primacy, they kill those who lives around them. In the same way, there are objects whose power derives not from their beauty alone, but from the waves they give off, assigning them a special place as witness-objects." 

In this context, the artist welcomes his American friend Johnes Ruta, an "artistic activist [...] whose personal mission is to develop public understanding of individual creativity, especially toward the appreciation of arts, culture, and the positive evolution of humanity."
It's easy to understand the extreme freedom of speaking that animates these wandering exchanges, in which the staring friendship, fertile in its very curiosity, the audacity of criticism and the demand for "mise en abyme" as a self-reflexive modality of figurative representation shine through...
Testimony-Memory...

Mnemonic art ...
This alchemical operation - extracting the quintessence of everyday life to produce something eternal - is above all, an operation of memory. As we have already noted (Jacques Derrida, Mémoire d'aveugle; l'autoportrait et autres ruines, Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1990), the draughtsman is blind, since he cannot see and draw at the same time; he can therefore only draw what he remembers to have seen once.  What, then, is the object of the painter's memory? Precisely the form captured in the movement of crowds, like an eternity hieroglyph. The task of the painter of nowadays, then, is to restore these freeze-frames that are so many glimpses of the eternal, the impression of which is fixed in the gaze, and which the hand brings back to life in the drawing. Seizing beauty thus takes on the value of a victory over Time and Death.
There is no present that does not hold the gold of beauty for those who know how to extract it. Modern beauty, mixed and compounded, intersects, in a moment of perfect poetry, the flight of time with the eternity of form. Since Plato and Aristotle, and even more so with Plotinus, the cardinal attribute of beauty has been unity, which makes its constituent parts inseparables. Like the members of a living organism that form an indivisible whole, beauty must be a living totality, an organic form to which nothing can be subtracted or added.

The result is six indispensable videos... powerful and evanescent, dark and sunny, demanding and tolerant... a broad spectrum of the antinomies of reason, creative joy and intelligence at work in every humanistic approach.
This "nomadic" encounter as an illustration!

"Now be quiet. Let the One who creates words speak. He made the door. He made the lock. He also made the key." - Rumi, 13th-century Persian Sufi poet and mystic


- TEXT FOR "THE FOUR PILLARS OF HEAVEN" EXHIBITION CATALOGUE [2020]

Recently renovated, the MBAA of Besançon, one of the oldest public museums in France, hosts the eponymous installation by the artist Jean-Pierre Sergent.

Spreading its wings at the four corners of the monumental staircase, this "world-work", in its very excessiveness, justifies the ambition of its title: an anthem to Joy, a celebration of vitality, an interplay of cosmic forces in which all spatio-temporal constraints dissolve... a work that would bring together all the qualities of excess (quantity, length, detours and expansion) and thus manage to give the world a fictional identity. Unheard-of power of material density... An abundance of forms. Compactness, intensity, mass, weight, profusion are precisely the distinguishing marks of JPS' "world-work". This is the exhilarating spectacle of a first odyssey, that of an artist who is committed to new beginnings.

An anthropologist of human consciousness, JPS tirelessly pursues his quest for the living through explorations of the transversality between cultures and eras. As a modern-day shaman questioning the difficult balance between order and disorder that governs the world, the artist is also a witness and a warning about the state of our societies. The vast majority of the works presented at the MBAA are taken from the Entropic Suites series, a recurring theme at JPS, for whom the idea of entropy or growing disorder runs through the entire body of work. In the field of art, disorder (or entropy) does not reduce the amount of information transmitted, but on the contrary - due to its unpredictable nature - increases it.

Chaos and Cosmos: Genesis! The first entity to extricate itself from Chaos and to constitute itself outside of it brings precisely firmness, stability and fixity: it is Gaia, the Earth. Immediately after it emerges from Chaos Eros, Love. This primordial Eros embodies a cosmogonic force of creation, engendering and renewal. The work of JPS celebrates this epiphany.

Strange and mysterious profession than that of a painter. War rumbles at the gates of Europe, glaciers melt, the commodification of the world and the reign of technology extend their grip. The studio, the last enclave still escaping the economic order. In this century of zapping, excesses and madness, they persist in wanting to "balance shapes and colours until they sound right. " (E.H. Gombrich). Is it possible to be modern today by painting? Provided that the genesis of the painting takes place internally. That it is inspired. The visual arts exist above all to communicate the unspeakable. To transmit us, to reveal to us what words cannot express. This is what the work of JPS is eminently testifying to.

Polymorphic, polygraphic, polysemic, polyphonic... the work, sensory as much as sensual, is saturated by visual and sound ingredients, mythical and metaphorical spaces that multiply its resonance and endow it with a polyphony that is resistant to any linear reading: In search of the secret of the creative act, it takes the most difficult routes of access to myths, sacred stories, cosmogony ... alongside secular, erotic and pornographic themes ... with equal brilliance. The power of evocation, the capacity of revelation, the inner energy of contemplation is thus restored. How can we not evoke here a major artistic event in the career of JPS? The creation of the scenographic environment for La Traviata, an opera by Giuseppe Verdi, directed by Didier Brunel, director of the Besançon Opera Theatre. This installation of Mayan Diary, a monumental mural installation of 18 paintings on 3.15 x 6.30 m Plexiglas, created in New York between 2001 and 2003, is a work of recovery, superimposition and accumulation of images. "The iconography of these fusion paintings is largely inspired by the pre-Columbian Aztec and Mayan cultures, shamanism, life cycles and cosmic momentum. The pictorial language presents itself as an iconographic meeting place of dreamlike, transtemporal and transcultural elements of archetypes drawn from the collective unconscious and imagination ... Creating a dynamic, a visual, emotional and aesthetic shock between two art forms. Confronting them, provoking the encounter between two languages from different eras and noting their contemporaneity...".

In Jean-Pierre Sergent's work, the director confides that he has "rediscovered all the elements that make up his view of La Traviata: in his wall installation, it is essential that the spectator "enters" the work through the play of reflection on the Plexiglas, just as he enters history and as the music enters him. The superimposition, fragmentation, juxtaposition, erotic image confronted with the roots of tribal societies evoke the microcosm of a volatile jet-set that encloses La Traviata. Transgressing the rules (she goes from libertine to love) she excludes herself from her tribe."

The Four Pillars of Heaven, such as Brancusi's The Endless Column or Lorenzo Ghiberti's The Gateway to Paradise, belong to a higher, transcendental order, where the limits of possible experience are exceeded.

"Enter and meditate, you will be drawn into the divine light in a flash. The door of transformation is then open to you, it is up to you to know how to seize it. » The Great Book of Ayurveda, Christine Chandrika Blin


- TEXT ON THE SACRED FOR "THE FOUR PILLARS OF HEAVEN" LEAFLET [May 18, 2020]


"It is easier to raise a temple than to lower the object of worship into it".
Samuel Beckett, The Unspeakable, p. 95

The Sacred does not fade away... JPS's work affirms this with unsettling force in the voluptuous intermingling of its plural themes.
In search of the inner stirrings of nature (Matisse...) or of diverse forces, in search of transcendence, of a relationship with the invisible (Kandinsky...); in search of a different universe or a different relationship with matter (Gauguin, Brancusi...) or beyond matter....) or beyond matter (Malevitch...), of an alchemy of the image (Rothko...), the Franco-American artist is part of a fraternity expressing the ambition to pursue metaphysical unity.
No, the sacred does not fade away, and JPS's works are ironic enough to tell us so, constantly reminding us of this through their particular completion, of which the artist is perfectly aware: subtly playing off a "religious" content derived from tradition with his own way of dealing with it; or revealing, in his own style, the break in which the sacred consists and which forbids us ever to confuse the creation of the work with what it achieves.
The genesis of the sacred in JPS's work bears witness to a triple dimension: - Connecting (no human being escapes the sacred); - Delimiting (giving man his place in the world); - Transgressing contemporary hierophobia, that morbid fear of sacred things, and thus reconnecting with Mircea Eliade's hierophany and the free manifestation of the sacred that never disappears.
So what is so sacred about the sacred that it haunts any reflection on creation, particularly artistic creation? Generally speaking, the sacred is that which is untouchable by the vulgar, in this case the profane (who is uninitiated and stands "profanum", in front of the temple), even to the point of the sublime. He creates a boundary, a demarcation between two universes that telescope at the same time, and links them together. It is this distinction from the common order that makes it so fascinating, and makes it oscillate between veneration and profanation, transgression.  The sacred, in fact, belongs to another world; it is an irruption, an infraction of the vulgar logic of reality, which it is supposed to protect from chaos. It's a matter of art, but also of religion, and above all of mathematics and geometry ("Let no man enter here who is not a geometer", engraved on the portal of Plato's Academy) - in short, of all that has symbolic value, of all that brings men together around that which could separate or weaken them. Through the sacred, the creature becomes a creator, disposes of its own strength and generates itself, since "to create" etymologically means "to draw from nothing". The sacred makes man the creator, the artist of his own life, to which he will give meaning by ordering the disorder of the world, in relation to his own inner disorder, the enemy he must learn to sublimate by every means possible.
It's the role of art to unveil (alètheia/truth) something, to make visible what didn't exist before, or what we didn't know or didn't dare to see.... Artistic or religious creation is therefore a matter of mystery, of which the sacred is the manifestation and consequence. Philosophers would say that it is the expression of transcendence (the supernatural vertical beyond time and space) in immanence (the natural horizontal of space and time). Indeed, the sacred is that which allows access to a beyond, the horizon of this profane and vulgar (common) world, of which the artist is "the prophet", according to Kandinsky, and the work of art the mysterious vehicle.
A transversal, profoundly anthropological notion, the sacred, by indicating a sovereign space inaccessible to the uninitiated profane, draws a boundary, and this is probably its essential function: to separate but also to connect, even to encompass, everything at once.
Bringing together what is scattered, diverse, even contradictory, to create a unity that natural existence alone cannot produce - this is the initial (and initiating) function of the sacred. To bring out, to create order in the problematic chaos of the profane and the initiated, to bind, to link what is opposed, such as the pure and the impure, the high and the low, the diabolical and the divine, blood and law, the dead and the living... The power of the sacred lies in its ability to act as a hyphen, a cartography, a zoning for human practices and aspirations.
Jean-Pierre Sergent's work, in its fulgurances and even stridency, is a masterly completion of this.


- ABOUT THE "SHAKTI-YONI" SERIES [November 8, 2018]


Lush!
This new series is part of the continuum of copious works in which the artist celebrates the Woman: "the image of the shakti, the power and joy of the gods who, without her, have no existence." The guardian figure of Alain Daniélou radiates in this offering of a Shivaism that was lived as an erotic religion: "Shiva lives in a state of perpetual erotic joy," he wrote. "Voluptuousness and happiness are fundamental elements of existence." He added: "The first symbol of Shiva is a phallus, the most obvious symbol of the principle of life."

Jean-Pierre Sergent's work embodies and illustrates this original intuition: when opposites come together, the imbalance, the tension that gives birth to beings, disappears, and the experience of pleasure and of joy results. That is why it is said that the state of permanent stability is a state of perpetual pleasure, of eternal joy. For the living being, it is only in the union of opposites that the state of happiness appears. It is only in the brief moment when two beings become one, when desire is pacified, that a fragment of happiness is felt. This state of joy is as close as we can get to the state of liberation.

The union of the phallus and the female organ is the symbol of divine reality as well as cosmic and physical reality. This union is the origin and end of existence, as well as the cause of its continuation. The sexual act is therefore the most important of the rites and, performed as a rite, is the most effective way to participate in the cosmic work. All the other rituals are the image of this union and symbolically reproduce it. Agni, the god of fire, the male principle, manifests himself in the kunda, the focus of the altar, the image of the female. The Upanishads explain all aspects of the ritual of sacrifice as well as the different stages of the act of love.
"The woman is the home, the male organ is the fire, the caresses are the smoke, the vulva is the flame, the penetration the poker, and the pleasure the spark. In this fire, the gods sacrifice the seed and a child is born." (Chândogya Upanishad, 5, 4-8).

Adventure and Odyssey, this iconoclastic journey where Jean-Pierre Sergent takes us is a journey that puts into images, music, and words a sacred, immemorial and vivid story.

Access to the works and universe of this extraordinary artist is the privilege of a lifetime as well as a principle of life.


- PRESENTATION: EXTRACTS FROM A WORK IN PROGRESS


An encounter with the work of Jean-Pierre Sergent gave rise to the desire to reflect "in a miror effect" about its meaning. The question of how philosophy works or hinders painting, or how painting, conversely, prolongs, revitalizes or silences philosophy, the question of the hand-to-hand relationship between a philosophy whose first desire was to exclude painters from the City, automatically sending them to the side of the shadow or the simulacrum, and a painting which, very quickly resisted, counter-attacked and even challenged philosophy on the very ground on which it reigned, this question remains obscure, and it is the question at issue here.

The temptation/attemptation of a new approach to the arts of the visible, a semiology of the image.
To measure up to another language, an opaque language that requires the critic to enter into its game, the better to discover its multiple meanings, as in a text. The painting opens up like a narrative involving various pictorial codes: construction, gaze, gesture, ideology...
For the reading to be close to the work, the work must challenge the viewer. Not a neutral reading, but an involved reading. Roland Barthes calls this point that grips and points us the punctum, from which the work looks at the viewer.

- "A work of art is not a fortuitous phenomenon that appears indifferently here or there ... but a living being obeying a spiritual necessity".
- "It is this lubricating quality of the soul that facilitates the slow, barely visible progress and ascent of the spiritual triangle, sometimes slowed down outwardly, but constant and uninterrupted." Vassily Kandinsky, On the Spiritual in Art, VII, Theory

- "Art does not reproduce the visible. It makes visible."
- "The force of creative power cannot be named. In the end, it remains a mystery. For what is not a mystery is that which does not shake us to our very core. This force must work in symbiosis with matter to give birth to a real, living form... Shaping is life."  Paul Klee, Writings on Art, II, Infinite Natural History


- THE NOTION OF "INFINITE" IN JEAN-PIERRE SERGENT'S WORK


Is the notion of Infinity the keyword of the formal discourse that underlies Jean-Pierre Sergent's powerful work? Conceived not just as duration, this notion of infinity unfolds here as a singular tellurocosmic tension: a tension that generates form and shapes.
Drawing inspiration from the work of the great figures of 20th-century French ethnography, such as Claude Lévi-Strauss, Marcel Mauss, Michel Leiris and Marcel Griaule, Sergent's work takes us on an exploration of spaces where art and ethnography converge in a renewed fascination for the unknown and the distant. The primary ambition of this project is to go beyond the notion of national space as a geographical place with established borders, in favor of a space whose morphology is in perpetual evolution and whose definition goes beyond the usual categories of the local, the national, the transnational, the geopolitical, denationalization, purity, métissage and so on. Creation is approached from the angle of the richness of exchanges, in a context where art now appears as a globalized phenomenon resulting from a complex weaving of relationships that transcend geographical distances. The very titles of the various series in this work emphasize the heterogeneous tensions and friction that animate all human activity:

- Indian Names, 1988
- Le rêve de l'homme emprisonné, 1999
- Uxmal - New York, a Mayan Diary, 2001
- Bondage & Freedom, 2003
- Beauty is Energy, 2002
- Sky Umbilicus, 2006
- Mangas, Yantras Y Otras Cosas, 2009
- Suites Entropiques, 2011
- Nature, Cultures, l'Origine des mondes, 2012
- Sex & Rituals, 2013


The artist thus intends to question the place of the individual, in terms of his or her origins, intellectual training and life trajectory, in the broader context of a society whose fault lines are increasingly shifting. This work also raises the question of the very role of such an event in the context of the debates that animate French society today.
A work of art is not necessarily what one person has created, even if we often think so in the West. Other forms of art exist elsewhere, and existed before. In China, there are stone paintings known as dream stones. These are slices of rock inside which are drawn landscapes, mountains, trees, lakes and clouds that have emerged spontaneously in the stone over time.
The artist is the one who goes into the mountain, opens the rock, discovers it, sees it, recognizes this natural painting, is moved by it, cuts out a section, gives it a title and signs it with his or her name.
The artist may simply be the one who shows us what he has discovered, what he has imagined, what he has recognized, what he has felt. The work of art may simply be the sharing of a gaze across space and time.
Art functions as an enormous incubator, or bioreactor, in which aesthetic, philosophical and epistemological concepts emerge and take shape, symbolically and also materially, and which would not exist in our society without this cultivation.
This proliferation of research, all these attempts to overcome the crisis of Art for Art's sake, while producing major works, always come up against the same problem: the impossible reconciliation between the artist and his public, between the artist who is now obliged to be original, to invent his own language in order to exist, and a bourgeois society whose values have entered a deep crisis This situation has only become more acute throughout the 20th century. The work is defined by its creative process. How and why a work is produced is perhaps where its definition lies... The creative process remains a mystery whose nature it is impossible to determine. At best, we can try to describe it. The Freudian notion of sublimation can help us shed light on the notion of the work. It's a hypothesis we need to work on. For Freud, sublimation is an unconscious psychic process that transforms the energy of unconscious drives into something socially positive. It's a constructive way of freeing ourselves from the force of the drives and complexes repressed within our unconscious. It's the transformation of the chaos of impulses, which can sometimes be destructive, into creative energy, not just in art, but in all areas of human activity. Freud uses the term sublimation metaphorically. Indeed, this notion comes from the vocabulary of chemistry, and designates the transformation of a body from a solid state directly into a gaseous state. Artistic creation could be described by this phenomenon of metamorphosis, and what makes it possible is the work of form. In this respect, we should take Freud's idea a step further. Indeed, form gives the work its existence; it is through its completion that a work is a work. Form is not appearance or outward appearance, which are all too often contrasted with content, which makes no sense at all, since one cannot exist without the other, and the two are in constant interaction. Form is "sedimented content", as Adorno put it. It is the accuracy of this relationship that gives the work its authentic presence and defines it as a work of art. And, to return to Freud and the notion of sublimation, we need to take this transformation of drives a step further, moving from the chemical metaphor to the alchemical one: from sublimation to transmutation. The lead of the impulses would be transmuted into the gold of the completed art work, the transmutation taking place through the work of form. However, as we have seen, contemporary art, in many respects refuses to work with form. We're often dealing with the unworked expression of an impulsive content, a simple staging of repressed impulses through a symbolic disguise. We do observe a change in the state of the impulse, but not the transmutation through form that is necessary for the work to appear. Or, perhaps, it's just a first step that doesn't achieve what makes the work a real work. Contemporary Art  presents "works" that are of interest for their psychological significance, or sometimes for their social critique, but hardly at the level of the accomplishment of form, i.e. at the aesthetic level.

 


- ABSTRACTION / THEORETICAL MODE / SPIRITUAL MODE: THINKING WHAT WE SEE


What would aesthetics be - that mask never torn from the neutral face of philosophy - if it didn't dare to think what it sees? Or rather, if it thought it saw what it didn't think of?
"The work is a work only when it becomes the open intimacy of someone who writes and someone who reads it, in the space violently deployed by the mutual contestation of the power to say and the power to hear" (Blanchot, L'Espace intérieur). It's an attempt to sever the intimate connection between the abstract visible and its concept. But we understand that, even to deny this connection, we must first admit it. This link, then, remains to be thought out, right in front of us. The art work, the painting, is then recognized as what it is: a phenomenon. And a phenomenon all the more so in that it is destined to appear purely and totally, without reserve or restraint - unlike worldly phenomena, which still carry the weight of objects and being. The art object thus "phenomenalized" is received as a burst of unbearable visibility, emerging from its native "unseen". In other words, it opens up the crossroads between the visible it gives and the invisible that sustains it.
Sergent's work adds visibility and meaning to the world. Even more, it adds itself to the world. That's why we can't see it without feeling the without experiencing the resulting backlash. So what are these fundamental "tonalities" that Sergent's work instil in us, and for which this work matters to us so deeply? We'll also have to assign death, sexuality, desire, the sacred... their own visible deep significations. The revelations of cosmic and natural sacredness are primordial: they took place in humanity's most distant religious past. Subsequent historical innovations have failed to abolish them. History merely adds to them, superimposing new meanings. If the Whole exists within each significant fragment, this is not because the law of "participation" is true, but rather because each significant fragment repeats the Whole. For the archaic mentality, Nature is never exclusively "natural". All its remarkable aspects are seen as hierophanies - manifestations of the sacred, in the sense defined by Mircea Eliade - of a divine form.
This dimension of naturalistic cosmic hierophany is omnipresent in Sergent's work through the assertion that space is not homogeneous: there is a sacred, significant space, and there are other, unconsecrated spaces, i.e. without structure or consistency, a-morphic in the ethymological sense of the term. Cosmogony is the exemplar of all constructions. The sacred valorization of the world gives it a fixed point, a center, and thus an orientation. This is tantamount to creating it out of a chaotic immensity, a pattern found in many cosmogonies. The World can be grasped as a world, as a Cosmos, insofar as it reveals itself as a sacred space, of which man wants to be the Center.
This sacred space in turn presupposes such essential notions as Cosmogony and Axis Mundi. In traditional societies, the Cosmos, i.e. organized space, is opposed to the rest, which is Chaos. Chaos only becomes Cosmos because it has been consecrated. Sacred space is consecrated by a repetition of the primordial hierophany, the archetypal model that took place in illo tempore. This initial consecration transfigures the space, singling it out and isolating it from the surrounding profane space. But more than that, a sacred space derives its validity from the permanence of the hierophany that once consecrated it. In this area, the hierophany is repeated.
Traditionally imagined at the Center of the World (access to the Center is initiatory), more precisely at the Center of the "organized" world, the Axis Mundi is a place where the three cosmic levels communicate - Heaven (the divine world), - Earth, - the lower world (the world of the dead). The Axis Mundi is found in many mythologies, in forms as diverse as the Cosmic Mountain linking Earth to Heaven, the Pillar often depicted as supporting Heaven, but also as the Axis Mundi: it plays an essential role in rituals where it becomes symbol of the territory's consecration, the world organizing itself around it. It gives to the dewelling a cosmic structure. The Axis Mundi can take on other derivative forms - ladder, tree, vine, etc. It is often associated with the image of the world's navel, or the Earth's umbilicus, the omphalos.
The enclosure that encloses the sacred space is one of the oldest known architectural structures of sanctuaries. Sergent's large plexiglas, themselves powerfully enclose the sacred space of their representations, with their coloured Plexiglas framing. As a boundary between two different types of space - sacred and profane - this enclosure protects the profane from contact with the sacred, which is always dangerous if unprepared. The sacred space is thus a space of passage, of transgressive transversality, marked by signs indicating its sacredness.


- ON THE WORK OF JEAN-PIERRE SERGENT / TRANSVERSALITY

It is part of the "traversée" of contemporary art, a journey, a path: "... there is no end, only the path. But I'd like to be, modestly and on my own scale, like the great jazz drummers: jazz drummers are always just a little ahead of the music playing, and that's what makes the soloists pulsate and throws the musicians they accompany totally forward. When you're slightly ahead of the beat, it's because you're doing your job well." Jean-Claude Guillaumon, "L'art, fabrication ou transgression" (Interview by Abdelkader Damani. Published in Le Croquant n°55-56, 2007).
In Les Carnets de Malte, Rilke describes the source of his poetic inspiration: "Verses are not made, as people think, with feelings (we get those all too soon) - they are made with lived experience. To write a single verse, you have to have seen a lot of cities, a lot of people and a lot of things, you have to know the animals, you have to feel how the birds fly and know the movement that makes the little flowers open in the morning. You have to be able to remember routes through unknown lands, unexpected encounters and long-planned goodbyes [...] And it's not really enough to have memories. You have to be able to forget them, when they are numerous, and you have to have the great patience to wait for them to return. For memories are not yet enough. They must first merge with our blood, with our gaze, with our gesture, they must lose their names and no longer be discernible from ourselves; then it may happen that in the course of a very rare hour, the first word of a poetry verse emerges in the midst of them and emanates from among some of them". Indeed, this text can be applied to all the arts, but also to mystical experience, whether Christian, Jewish, Sufi or Taoist. Once our experiences merge with our blood, once we have digested, meditated and forgotten them, they become profound, unforgettable and truly spiritual and transcendent. "A true artist paints or writes with his blood", says Nietzsche: in other words, with his life.


- OF WONDER, OF MOVEMENT, OF TRANS-GRESSION AS PASSAGE, SURPASSING LIMITS



Henri Maldiney suggests ("L'admiration", Autrement, n°26, February 1999) that "the destiny of art is that of astonishment, where transcendences are awakened". Wonder is seen as a bridge between art and transcendence, between heaven and earth. But a bridge over what? On the infinite distance between art and the spiritual, and on the abyss it opens beneath our feet, that of our fears and anxieties in the face of death, and the scandal of suffering and evil. Since Cromagnon time's, as shown by the cave paintings of Altamira, Chauvet and Lascaux, images have enabled mankind to express a feeling that is at once astonishment and amazement, fear and wonder, a mixture of anguish and joy in the face of the MYSTERY OF LIFE. The rites and funerary images of all religions over the last 30,000 years bear witness to this. By releasing a form, the artist attempts to conquer death and pierce the wall of silence that surrounds it. In this struggle between absence and presence, the artist draws on the source of mystery and is absorbed by it. And his work emerges where this mystery is annihilated and erased, a mysterious unveiling that veils in the person who witnesses it.


"What is drawing? asks Van Gogh. It's the action of clearing a path through an invisible iron wall between what we feel and what we can." But "isn't painting made to demolish the wall", as Fernand Léger confided to Father Couturier?

Nicolas de Staël writes: "The pictorial space is a wall, but all the birds of the world fly there freely, in all its depths."


- ABOUT JEAN-PIERRE SERGENT: A FEW NOTES [December 1, 2014]

A singularity, most troubling in its persistence at the heart of JPS's work, concerns the "pre-human" world, so difficult to perceive, to free from its cultural shackles, but with which we must enter "in phase", in resonance. In what form does the proto-world emerge, and what kind of phenomenality does it appear to the senses? The phenomena of the natural world have given rise, philosophically and then scientifically, to a division between matter and form (Plato, Aristotle). Some emphasize substantial matter (materialism), others generative form ("eideticism" or idealism). However, to sensitively recapture the proto-world is perhaps first to go back to an indissociable complex of "matter-form", a "hylemorphic" focus, which is neither object nor subject, which is neither absolutely raw (anterior to all peoetics as the study of creative processes), nor indeed artificial (the result of a poiën). For nature, physis, in its original emergence, presents itself, as Greek and Renaissance thinkers already saw, as energy, as a living becoming, as a growth in space of a materia prima, which generates an arborescence of forms and colors. Admittedly, we're not very familiar with this non-dissociated degree of reality, which is neither hylozoism (for whom matter is innervated by a vital force) nor traditional animism (projection of a psyche onto nature). For we find it hard to think of the world, the earth, before it is assimilated by our humanized categories, i.e. the wild world, the primitive "chaosmos" (which does not mean disorder, but pre-human order). Yet it is this horizon that can open us up to the experience of an extreme perception, an unprecedented experience, from which another artistic practice can spring forth: the very place where the JPS approach par excellence fits in.
This dynamic, undivided perception can, de facto, enable us to reach the earth's original relief, the archaic, shifting landscape of differences, volumes, hollows and contours that the informed substances constitute, independently of their symbolic meaning and their function as more or less artificial objects. In such a hand-to-hand combat, the space of things emerges from within matter, just as matter emerges from itself to stand into a unique space. It's an experience that succeeds in reaching a reality where form and substance emerge simultaneously, as the matrix of the world. In this way, the abstractions that have long undermined our understanding of nature are suspended and transgressed: on the one hand, pure matter, independent of its inscription in space; on the other, pure - geometric - forms, independent of their substrate. In JPS's work, on the other hand, the senses and the imagination deliver an indissociable unity, a monadic being; morphology can only be found in a being immersed in matter, and materiology only inscribed within geographical limits. For the world is spontaneously genesis material (tree, rock, water), and spatial configuration (labyrinth, spiral, volutes).
                                                                                                                    
Such is the original "cosmos", the auroral world, prior to splits, denominations and ruptures.
A profound epistemological break is thus taking shape, one that has often been approached by artists, but which our contemporary thinking tends to theorize in a more systematic, clear-cut way. Sergent understands this well, and in his obstinate work, he affirms the need to think of the perception of the world within an extreme topic, in which man and world, subject and object, perceiver and perceived, lose their well-defined coordinates, not in order to merge into some regressive indifferentiation, This is not so as to merge into some regressive indifferentiation that would mean the implosion of the world and the impossibility of all creation, but so as to establish other, labile, intersecting relationships that enable us to reach the edges, the shores, where the psychic and the physical touch and spill over into each other.

Becoming, trace and movement: three keywords likely to embody the essential ideas of art theory, as it might be expressed in the work of Jean-Pierre Sergent.
Becoming includes the idea of art as a process, aiming not at finite form but at shaping, the genesis of artistic work and its perpetual development.
The trace is the mark of any dynamic episode, revealing the singular character of its maker, whether it's the movement of a dot, a pencil, a walker, a dog, a dancer, an eye or sounds.

And the idea of ceaseless becoming through movement, could be the central axiom of Sergent's theory art process. The work of art and even the entire cosmos would thus be born of the movement of an original point.


- MARIE-MADELEINE VARET'S QUESTIONS I COULDN'T OR WOULDN'T ANSWER [May 2014]

 

On the work of Jean-Pierre SERGENT
Marie-Madeleine VARET's FAQ (Fucking Asked Questions)

Woman "in all her states" inhabits and runs through the work: she is a topos, a recurring theme. The density of her presence gives her flesh. Powerfully sexualized, the Woman is at once Origin (the Matrix), Vortex in your human spiral pictorial interpretation, tending to show a description of the Infinite, Transitivity, Transversality, 'Diagonale du Fou', Axis Mundi, Movement, First Energy, Vehicle of all possibilities. Can this female omnipresence extend its spatio-temporal empire in terms of power, and thus become part of an omnipotence in which women assert themselves as self-sufficient?

As a necessary counterpoint, we raise the question of the "discretion" of the male figure. Can it be seen as a corollary of women's self-sufficient power? Is the man reduced to "playing the utilities", with no decisive or truly defined role as the primary member of the original couple? Is he reduced to onanistic pleasure (where he was captured in one of the Large Papers)? Is the Phallus, in its visibility, its exteriority, its materiality, discredited as a mere object of the world, immanent, in the face of the interiority, the mystery of the female sex in its transcendent representation?

Incommensurable with himself, man is irreducible to his own representations, and his desire stems only from that which escapes him. Historically, philosophy - like mathematics and all forms of knowledge - is founded at this point by obscuring it. The madman's diagonal points to it: it's art. Does the creator that you are, see it as the place of Utopia? "Is Kenneth White a poet who travels, or a traveler whose wanderings give rise to poetry?" Do you think you could make the wandering in question your own, and imagine that we could, following in the poet's footsteps, as if in passing, like wandering in the path of life, engage in a dialogue with places -place after place- to reach a certain non-place? Is it possible to go even further, to explore atopia as practiced by the poet-thinker? In other words, to set out on reconnaissance and try to survey in the filed, vulnerable if it is, and the place of topical/atopic experience. A terrain where we can attempt to draw an "area of recognition", a "fragmentary geography" that is nonetheless traversed by a logic, a thought, ambulant if need be. This attempt at exploration takes as its point of departure Heideggerian topology, and is in line with Robert Bréchon's idea of two distinct moments in whitian wandering: the search for place, from place to place, and the subsequent but not secondary, search for a "non-place" that is the supreme place. In fact, it is now a question of envisioning a beyond, but also a below, to the wandering practiced by Kenneth White, and of seeing if this dynamic can be approached, despite its growing complexity. In short, it's a question of looking back at a way of thinking, a way of knowing that is intimately linked to a practice, an experience of place. In so doing, opening up new fields for both the experience of thought and the thought of experience. What do you think of this in the practice of your art?

Can your work be described as "erotic"? Isn't such "essentialization" reductive? In his Histoire de la sexualité, Michel Foucault problematizes his approach, setting himself the task of examining sexuality diachronically, focusing more on discourse than on practices. The author thus expresses a central thought of the work: "[...] discourse on sex, for three centuries now, has been multiplied rather than rarefied; and [...] if he has brought with him prohibitions and taboos, it has in a more fundamental way ensured the solidification and implantation of a whole sexual disparate" (p. 71). Foucault's bias runs counter to the orthodoxy of the time: he refuses, as May 1968 protesters did, to reduce the understanding of sexuality to a history of repression associated with the advent of bourgeois and capitalist society. Another important notion in the book is that of the truth of sex, which can be broken down into two trends: an ars erotica, in which this truth is based on pleasure solely, and a scientia sexualis, in which truth is based on the management of what is permitted or forbidden, and, consequently, on the practice of confession (pp. 77-78): "[...] confession is a ritual of discourse in which the subject who speaks coincides with the subject of the utterance; it is also a ritual that unfolds in a relationship of power, for one does not confess without the least virtual presence of a partner who is not simply the interlocutor, but the instance that requires the confession, imposes it, appreciates it and intervenes to judge, punish, forgive, console, reconcile [...]." Does this reflection find an echo in the process of maturing and development of your work?

The reception of your work has been mixed, and that's an understatement! Do you consider the eminently non-consensual nature of your approach to be its "trademark", its necessity and its requirements, as the root of your entire artistic project? Does artistic creation originate in the dominance of primary creative pleasure and its effects on the creator, themselves exclusive of the external, and "second" because distanced, removed from the public gaze? If it's obvious that the creator doesn't create "to please", since the work of art is not a consumer good like any other, why does the artist feel the pain of "not being loved and/or recognized"? The freedom and independence that are the hallmarks of art also signal the difficulty of the exercise, in the pseudo "failure" of "not meeting with approval" or, conversely, "meeting with negative criticism". How can we live this "paradox" of the artist, in the sense formulated by Diderot?

The question of "puritanism" arises acutely as an instance of censorship. Your American experience seems to define a more open, and therefore generally more positive, view of your work than that held by Europeans, and the French in particular. What then, in your opinion, of the Manichean idea (prejudice?) of the largely and traditionally puritanical Anglo-Saxon countries versus the free-thinking and philosophical "libertinage" of the heirs of the Enlightenment?

How does the work-in-progress of the "Mayan Diary" series work?

"Entropy measures the degree of disorder in a physical system; the number of rearrangements of fundamental constituents; the ratios of order and chaos and thus, by extension, of the rational with the irrational, of geometric structure and organic exuberance...". How does this concept play out in the "Entropics Suites" series?


- ABOUT COMPLEX THINKING IN THE NEW IMAGES ON THE FOLLOWING WEB PAGES [November 26, 2013]

 

Mangas, Yantras Y Otras Cosas II | Dionysos | Lady of the Ants | Bondage & Freedom

Sublime! For me, your work is the ultimate paradigm of complex thinking: this philosophical concept expresses a form of thinking that accepts the interweaving of each field of thought and transdisciplinarity. The term complexity is taken in the sense of its etymology, "complexus", meaning "that which is woven together" in a muddle of interlacing (plexus).
It is more appropriate to speak of complex thinking than "critical thinking", since complex thinking encompasses all three modes of thinking: critical, creative and responsible. The criteria for critical thinking are: criterion-driven, procedure-driven, self-correcting and context-sensitive. The criteria for creative thinking are: guided by sometimes contradictory criteria, heuristic, more results-oriented, self-transcending (synthetic); governed by the context in which it appears. Responsible thinking presupposes dialogical communication, openness to others and differences, and a willingness for a change.
The transition from simple thinking (guessing, preferring, believing....) to complex thinking (proposing hypothetical solutions, creating links, searching for requirements, relying on valid justifications, self-correcting...) only occurs following systematic learning and requires a suitable environment.

Edgar Morin: "When I speak of complexity, I'm referring to the elementary Latin meaning of the word 'complexus', 'that which is woven together'. The components are different, but we must see the overall picture, as in a tapestry. The real problem (of thought reform) is that we've learned too well to separate. It's better to learn to reconnect. To link, that is, not just to establish an end-to-end connection, but to establish a looping connection. In fact, in the word "reconnect", there's a "re", meaning the loop returns on itself. The loop is self-productive. At the origin of life, a kind of loop was created, a kind of natural machinery that returns on itself and produces increasingly diverse elements that will create a complex being that will be alive. The world itself is self-produced in a very mysterious way. Today, knowledge must have instruments, fundamental concepts that will enable us to reconnect."