About the videos: texts of additional presentations of some video interviews - 2008 - 2013
"Digressions Into The Studio" interview between artist Jean-Pierre Sergent & philosopher Marie-Madeleine Varet | 8 parts | Besançon studio October 6th 2016 - Watch the videos (in French without subtitles)
PART 1: THE STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION OF PAINTING
The square unit
The reading grid, the facets of a rubicube
The work continues and envelops
The axis mundi, the crossroads of the directional axes and historical times
The surface of the horizontal-vertical wall, the cosmic journey
The centrifugal and centripetal energy-movements, the radiation from the "core" to the "around", the cosmic explosion...
The primordial ocean, multiconsciousness
Cyclical and non-linear times
The protean work: polymorphic, polygraphic, polyphonic, polysemic
PART 2: DESIRE IN PAINTING
To paint is to want to love
The vital energy, the overdesire
The vulva, the vortex, the female sex...
fertility, a woman's body...
Otherness, the yin-yang duality, the gift of self
The organic shudder of desire opposed to the geometry of the patterns.
Very superficial public reporting (thematic)
PART 3: METAPHYSICS IN PAINTING
Nefertari's Tomb, Mural Art and Mortuary Art
The question of eternity
The metamorphosis, the unconscious and the surreal...
Transcendental, transversal, marginal work
Memory, the archetype
The resolution of the whole in the multiple
The opening of consciousness
The painting is the place of the ritual
Beyond painting in metaphysics?
PART 4: ARCHEOLOGY OF THE KNOWLEDGE INTO THE PAINTING
Digging into myths, rites and the timeless sacredThe mystical & archaic thinking of ethnic cultures
The crosscut in the flesh of the cosmos
The transcendence of the artistic journey, the transgression, the odyssey...
Heuristic dimension of the work
PART 5: DIGRESSIONS INTO THE STUDIO
The color, the shape of the frame, the mystical blues...
PART 6: COMMENTS ON SOME SKETCHES
Presentation of about twenty works on paper from the Sketches series (1984/2003); American epics (shamanism); Genesis of the work, matrix: part/detail/fragment constitute from the outset a whole in their own right.
PART 7: COMMENTS ON SOME WORKS ON PAPER
Comment on a choice of art prints from the Bones, flowers & ropes series (2016).
PART 8: COMMENTS ON SOME BOOKS & CONCLUSION
Reading of some quotes from authors and conclusion by Marie Madeleine Varet.- "I shudder. Never, never again will I be warm in my blood and flesh." In La nuit des temps, René Barjavel
- "The souls that come out of this world migrate to the stars, which are animated beings." In The Temptation of Saint Anthony, Gustave Flaubert...
- The cicada hunter: "When I managed to maintain three of them, I'm only missing one out of ten. When I get to five, I catch the cicadas as if I was picking them up. At this point, I hold my body immobile like a piece of tree plunged into the ground. I hold my inert arm like a withered branch. In the midst of the vastness of the Universe and the multiplicity of things, I know only the cicadas, I do not turn or bend over. I wouldn't trade the wings of a cicada for all the beings in the world, how could I not catch them?" Complete work, Chuang-Tzu...
- ("Divine love is attained through carnal love," said St. Bernard) Shiva is the principle of erotic pleasure, not of fruitfulness. Wandering in the forest, he spreads his sperm by masturbatory practices. He inspires desire, erotic madness. His son Skanda was born without the intervention of a feminine element. All the beauty, all the joy of the world is manifested by an erotic explosion. The flowers throw their pollen to the wind. Fertilization is just a hitch in the journey of erotic joy. Eros knows no gender difference, no object. It is an inner impulse that rushes towards beauty, towards harmony. The creation of the world is an erotic act, an act of love, and everything that exists bears its mark, its message. Everything is organized in living beings according to this expression of pleasure, joy, beauty, happiness, which is the divine and secret nature of all that exists." Shiva and Dionysus, Alain Daniélou...
CONCLUSION BY MARIE-MADELEINE VARET
Discussion in front of the wall + (comments on the masks?)
Esotericism and symbolism
Chance and necessity (the resolution of these antinomies in the cosmic unity of the work)
Man as the embodiment of this reality
Mother earth gaia (cross section at the centre of the universe) and the sky ouranos which meet in and through erotic desire.
The wall as a journey to the center of the earth (and at the same time verticality ascending towards the cosmos ...)
Interview with Lionel Georges | 4 parts | Besançon studio Septembre 21th 2015 - Watch the videos (in French without subtitles)
Jean-Pierre Sergent evokes his work, througout his painting and silkscreen technique, as well as his multiple sources of inspiration: Hindu thought, Tantrism, Animism, Pre-Columbian rituals & paintings, colour energy, etc...
The painter is reading 9 important quotations in French in front of Lionel Georges camera's:
Goethe: "Art alone makes possible the accomplishment of all that, in reality, life denies to man."
C.G. Jung, The Mystery of the Golden Flower: "God dwells in the most extreme emptiness and vitality."
Annapurna Upanishad: "I am united with him who dwells at the tip of the blade of grass, in the sky, in the sun, in every human being, in the mountains, and even in the deities" . Thinking this way he no longer knows suffering.
Tchouang-tseu: "I contemplate the secret of creation. When my curiosity is satisfied, I will ride the immense bird to escape from the universe and wander freely in the land of nothingness and infinity. How can I be interested in the government of men?"
C.G. Jung, The Mystery of the Golden Flower: - "All that we are aware of is image, and that image is soul."
Annapurna Upanishad: "Infinity and joy: - That which is infinite is joy. There is no joy in the finite. Only infinity is joy. Therefore, it is undoubtedly infinity that one should seek.
- O Venerable One, I seek the infinite."
The Speculative Hymns of the Veda: Breath: "Tribute to the Breath! Under its control is this universe. He is the master of all things. Everything has its foundations in him."
Chogyam Trungpa, The Myth of Freedom: "In fact for a true practitioner of Tantra, understanding the living energy of the cosmos in terms of structures, shapes and colors is not a matter of imagination or hallucination. It is real."
Siueh-teou: "And behold the heavenly flowers falling as rain while the earth trembles!"
Transgressions* ? interview between artist Jean-Pierre Sergent & philosopher Marie-Madeleine Varet | Exhibition Sex & Rituals | Besançon April 4th 2013 - Watch the video (in French without subtitles)
Marie-Madeleine Varet-Pietri is a philosopher. After studying philosophy at the Université de Franche-Comté, she continued her studies in the United States (from 1971 to 1974), at Columbia University and at the State University of Buffalo. There she particularly developed her research themes in the direction of Anglo-Saxon analytical philosophy. On her return to France, she was appointed Study Engineer, then Research Engineer at the University of Franche-Comte. Within this framework, she has held teaching and research positions in the "Logiques de l'Agir", "Centre de Documentation et Bibliographie Philosophiques" (Besançon), "Philosophy Documentation Center" (Charlottesville, Virginia), "Institut International de Philosophie" (Paris) Laboratories.
* "From a conceptual point of view, transgression means crossing the limit to reach the unlimited. Transgression is not opposed to a limit but crosses all limits in principle, i.e. it affirms the possibility of living unlimitedly. It is the act of crossing all limits (taboos by which the human is distinguished from the inhuman)." Wikipedia
Interview between artist Jean-Pierre Sergent & Pascal Bertrand | Besançon studio | December 1st 2012 - Watch the video (in French without subtitles)
Jean-Pierre Sergent and Pascal Bertrand, director of the Omnibus gallery in Besançon talk about the works on paper presented at the exhibition Sex & Rituals, at the Omnibus Gallery in Besançon, from March 2 to April 18, 2013.
The artist is presenting nineteen large-format (1.20 x 1.07 m), single-print monochrome silkscreen works on paper, specially selected for the themes of this exhibition from his Large Papers series, begun in New York in 1999. These works are produced in parallel with his production on Plexiglas. The energy, sensuality, softness, vitality and lunar feminine presence that they exude is unique to them.
The themes invoked are, as the title of the exhibition indicates, an iconographic reflection around sexual images and rituals from different cultures and depictions. in different cultures. For the rituals, he often chooses images from Mesoamerican civilizations, dealing with trance and shamanic metamorphosis, such as when the Mayan shaman meets the Cosmic Serpent. For images depicting erotic scenes, he makes extensive use of Japanese manga drawings, in symbiosis with erotic texts written in raw and obscene English. This mixture is reminiscent of the scenes of regenerative Dionysian orgies in traditional pagan or ancient societies.
You must come and see, in this magnificent space dedicated to contemporary art, to breathe and vibrate these papers with their uniform, frank, bright, New York colours, displaying linear drawings, drawn as if with an axe and giving off an undeniable vital force.
Twelve small works on paper from the Mangas, Yantas & otras cosas series, 2011, also accompanies this exhibition, as well as the superb Bondage & Freedom, 1998, a huge screen-printed work on paper measuring 3 m long by 1.50 m high.
The painter and the art historian | Interview between artist Jean-Pierre Sergent & art historian Thierry Savatier | Courbet Farm | Flagey | May 13th 2012 - Watch the video (in French without subtitles)
A 40 mm documentary film recorded on May 13th 2012, at the Courbet Farm, by Lionel George for the Conseil général du Doubs. Thierry Savatier (a specialist of Courbet's works) and Jean-Pierre Sergent have been talking about his influences in his monumental wall installation for the show Nature, cultures, the worlds origin's.
They also discussed about the obvious and more intimates connections between Jean-Pierre's and Courbet's works: specially the monumental sizes of their paintings and the similar constant uses of the themes of Nature and of the eroticized women bodies largely represented in both of their art works.
Thierry Savatier is an art historian specialist of the XIX century and writer of : L'origine du monde : Histoire d'un tableau de Gustave Courbet. He is editor of the art blog in the famous French newspaper Le Monde : « Les Mauvaises fréquentations » .
His conferences have been held at the folowing places: Les Tribulations de L'Origine (Université d'Amiens), L'Ori-gyne du monde, image ob-scène ? (New York University, Ecole normale supérieure de la rue d'Ulm), La Scène érotique chez Gustave Courbet (Université de Rennes), L'Origine du monde (Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Fondation Beyeler, Musée de Thouars), Le Dictionnaire de cuisine d'Alexandre Dumas (Musée de Thouars), Le Non-dit dans le cinéma de Nadine Labaki (Université Saint-Joseph, Beyrouth). Thierry Savatier had also written the preface to Sergent's exhibition catalogue "Nature, cultures, l'origine des mondes".
An interview with the artist Jean-Pierre Sergent
Last May, I had devoted a column to the exhibition Nature, cultures, the origin of worlds, which brought together works by the artist Jean-Pierre Sergent at the Farm of Flagey, near Ornans (Doubs), a setting steeped in history, since this building, entirely restored by the General Council, belonged to the family of Gustave Courbet and the painter lived and worked there. The room he occupied is still visible today.
Invited for the occasion to give a lecture on The Origin of the World, the master's emblematic painting, I took advantage of this opportunity to have a public dialogue with Jean-Pierre Sergent. This interview was the subject of a documentary filmed by Lionel Georges. You can see it online by following this link.
I naturally tried to limit my interventions to what was strictly necessary, in order to let the artist fully express himself. During 40 minutes, Jean-Pierre Sergent, with all the modesty that characterizes true artists, talks about his art, his experiences, his technique, his influences, the stakes of a work where spirituality, eroticism and nature remain inseparable. Finally, he evokes the bridges that link him to Gustave Courbet.
Documentary film by Jean-Luc Gantner | Besançon Studio | France | January 1st 2009 - Watch the video (in French without subtitles)
Documentary film were Jean-Luc Gantner Interviewed Jean-Pierre Sergent about his artistic skills, cultural influences and readings, filmed at this besançon studio location in 2008. Jean-Luc Gantner is a journalist and movie maker, he realised severals documentaries for french nationals TV : sur Les nouveaux mondes / France 2 ; Envoyé spécial / France 2 ; Metropolis / Arte ; Thema / Arte ; Le magazine du sénat / France 3. He is working today as a journalist reporter for the national French TV France 3. He is also editing of a really interesting cultural blog : Le journal de néon
I, for my part, am the product of a skeptical education from the point of view of any doctrines or churches. No holy virgin to defend my affective armada, nor any mandalas to keep me within the circle of my lost loves...
More like an agnostic. Because I have nevertheless come across, in my travels, frightening shadows and sublime perfumes that intermingled for no apparent reason, just as stars and comets sometimes collide elsewhere in the universe to produce a few dusts of magical colours on this kind of earth that carries us together for no apparent reason.
Mayan Diary #4, acrylic silkscreen on plexiglass & tinted plexiglass, 2007
If I have often been afraid in the darkness, I must say that it is rather because of men and their bad manners than because of a sum of occult draughts. So much for being completely loyal to you before I come to my own account, and for getting out of our respective metaphysical itineraries.
To tell you the truth, I don't know precisely where and when I first met Jean-Pierre Sergent, but the detail is actually of no importance in the cosmological time scale we are talking about. Let's say that some sort of official cultural institution had advised me to tiptoe around and the matter could have ended there. You never really know exactly how a chain of circumstances ends up as a form of good fortune for the mind? Perhaps it was the Axis Mundi that precipitated this first encounter. Just a sum of coincidences..." A cataclysm".
I think we first talked about Bacon... or we should have. Bacon..." Neither a narrative, still less an illustration" said Maurice Tourigny (1). Just a confrontation of affects in the idea of a terrible accident. Bacon, like a receiver of the passing of time, "terrible". This "result" of a sum of coincidences, and their haunting intimate corollaries.
Jean-Pierre Sergent, this artist who arrived from New York a few hours earlier, tried to convince me of a bunch of demiurgic powers that coloured the depths of ancient worlds. A lot of magic formulas difficult to admit from my kind of western promontory a little frozen. And I generally preferred to discuss this prolix theme of the bathers in the history of art or Guernica. Announcements in the Trecento; Giotto of course... and later especially Piero della Francesca. From a lunch on the grass that might have caused a scandal in its time or that ignoble Hallali de Courbet, about whom I think everyone wants to have a word. That Aphrodite of Cnidus of Praxiteles of course, or an equally suitable dialogue between a Pietà of Villeneuve and a nymph of Titian. This "style" of Byzantine gold and silver christ; these Romanesque Madonnas; the Gothic escarpments. The genius of Daumier. In bulk, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Rubens, Velasquez or Manet. My admiration for Baudelaire or Mallarmé if one had spoken of poetry from the outset. Everything that composes and orders the consistency of our academic colloquia on this side of the world, our schemes... Exegesis and hermeneutics... Our execrable ways of talking down to us, sure of ourselves and free of our burning fibres. "You can't see anything," said the critic Daniel Arasse. And the museums themselves... their senseless profusion, continue to blind us to the sensitive touches that transcend the centuries.
This painter... former horse breeder in the Upper Doubs before choosing to visit the Navajo Indians in the Arizona reservations instead of a frozen destiny in his post-farming county. Those in Utah or New Mexico, whom Pollock had before him rubbed shoulders with under the influence of some age-old native drugs. A wonderful shot for the world modern art scene.
Pollock, Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, Jasper Johns or Rauschenberg... The conversation started like this, in the tone of a sidereal dialogue about the traces that Men leave, their traces and their otherness in the infinite night. The idea of an interview came to us much later while we were working together on the project of a first film. A few questions thrown into the void as Jean-Pierre also paints in the spirit of an intuitive form of sign language. An interview in the genre of these friendly chats based on a large art book on his work table. This sort of imaginary museography that Malraux was talking about, but from the point of view of the inverted poles.
First this Indian Khajurâho instead of an Athena of Phidias. Yes, first this Çiva of Ellorâ, this African or twisted mask of the Eskimo shamans or this Eagle Knight of Mexico City... As the main subject of all our metamorphoses instead of a deadly night in an icy Louvre. Jean-Pierre Sergent laughed at the raw scenes brought back on the sacred stone of a vanished world. Scenes of overflowing fecundity and joyful love between men, women and their buried natural rhythms. The work, or rather the production of these other "great masters of the unreal" and their lost paradise. One by one, I saw these brown horses from the caves of Lascaux passing us by in a thunderous flash, these stylised figures with forgotten words under the cohort of our lying Christians (a leaden language against the aerial chronicle of the Sumerian or Aztec skies). The beauty of the rock engravings of Tamun in Litsleby. The insoluble genius of the Codex of Madrid... Yes, we talked a lot, but also laughed a lot that day about the bodies and organs ingested in the celestial colour. Erotic scenes without taboo. Sign-bodies, flower-bodies, god-bodies of all kinds and their phenomenal postures in ecstatic enjoyment. A multitude of "pornographic" themes in the sordid criteria of our degenerate social conventions. I told him of the difficulties he might encounter in one of those small villages in the East of France where he was returning to settle, in the face of opinion and value judgements. The blindness of the crowds in the promiscuity of standardised stylistic figures... The soft politics of the human ideal in this strange affair of a modern world all monopolised by the litany of its announced decline. A kind of discourse that this "New Yorker" heard, of course... but the artist, for his part, smiled a little as he thought of the kind of uproar he would perhaps unleash at the doors of French institutions, which would then risk remaining closed to him forever. There was talk of Michelet and then of Ferdinand de Saussure, Levi Strauss, Doctor Freud and a lot of secret formulas contained in the Holy Scriptures. Gestures and networks, symbols... everything that still makes sense in the great petrified space; will-o'-the-wisps that pierce it to revive us. We met again a few days later to talk about the emptiness too. Chaos theory, the phenomenology of Bergson and the Mayan people. Sacred art and its naturally sexual form before everything disappears in a great punitive Judeo-Christian uproar.
Men have since become my friend, but his "wall of light" continues to captivate me. His matrix. His Iliad... of Plexiglass. A furnace of incandescent signs brought back from a transatlantic journey that managed to transport me too; like every journey, it opens our eyes a little in the recurring darkness. For how can I tell you that instead of Delphe's Aurige, I now prefer the cosmic "mannerism" of Ajantâ's frescoes, or even worse... this painting by Jean-Pierre Sergent which addresses the body, our particulate anatomy, more than logical reason, and freed from all arbitrary "convenience" like these Sabbaths of women, divine... even when they are "tied" on their vinyl bed, held prisoner between their walls made of random energetic superimpositions. Magical juxtapositions of hyper sensual active ingredients where archaic culture rubs shoulders with the worst manga; comic strips and pornographic cartoons. As in the time when the messages of the Scythian kings reached Darius in a form that could lend itself to controversy, the "silent" signs used by accumulation in JP Sergent's work can at first lend themselves to ambiguity. A work which, however, says much more than anything we could write to ourselves in a slightly intelligible way in order to get to know ourselves. Millennia-old signs charged with a clean energy whose graphic conventions may escape us for a moment, but whose natural power of each one of them, coupled in this sort of hallucinating symbiosis, layer after layer... reveals the possibility of a ritual love figure that strikes our imagination at once. To enter the universe of Jean-Pierre Sergent is to accept to enter a sacred space. An experience sensitive to the limits of the Dawn of our humanity. But that I confess to you now, after a few preliminaries consumed between us. Yes, let me tell you the strict truth about this Darrin Sergeant. The man is a shaman... a "technician" of the sacred... He has seen rivers of blood flowing in the pistil of jade flowers and white tigers rising up to the sources of fire through the path of Nirvana. A wise man and his dream drum that speaks to the mythical harnesses and the bees of the age-old hives. The guardian... of the forest of Aphrodite and Ishtar. He saw in his dreams the young girls taken by the men of Goulburn Island. Young girls screaming in pain from their long penises. The girls of the Nagara tribe... The men of Goulburn Island ejaculating their semen into the bodies of the young Burara... Those who are still there, lying on their backs, stretched out among the foliage of the palm grove, in the place called the Still Clouds, where the clouds of the west rise (2).
This is the true truth, and as I have been able to verify everything myself without trying to hide anything from you.
1- Maurice Tourigny. Francis Bacon: chance and the smell of death
Vie des Arts, Volume 35, Number 139, June-Summer 1990, p. 16-19
2- Goulburn Island Cycle - Poetry of the People of Arnhem Land (Australia)
in The Technicians of the Sacred - Anthology of Jerome Rothenberg / José Corti Publishers
Insolation and Other Symbolic Powers a film by Jean-Luc Gantner | Ornans & Besançon | December 1st 2008 - Watch the video (in French without subtitles)
Documentary directed by Jean-Luc Gantner who followed the career of the artist Jean-Pierre over several months in 2008. Filmed for the most part at the Mayan Diary 24 exhibition, a large wall installation in the Iles Basses room in Ormans.
Places filmed : 06/28, Opening of the studio in Besançon | 07/21, Silkscreen prints at the atleiier | 09/15, wall installation Mayan Diary 24, at the Salle des Iles Basses, Ornans | 11/7, Realization of a large silkscreen on Plexiglas Gribouillis, Bondage et Géométrie Sacrée, 1.50 x 3m, at the company Mignotgraphie for the exhibition at the Galerie du Pavé dans la marre, Besançon.
- "I prefer Pollock... the American Indian and Jackson Pollock." The way he had to "paint" flat on the ground (his drippings) and his fascination for Native American art. I think the conversation started like that, about the traces left on the sand by the Navajo Indians, and the Aztec or Mayan civilizations. Jean-pierre was returning from a trip to New York. It was autumn and he was telling me about the evening light on the Hudson River, all the energy that was radiating behind the bricks of the gallery district between 28th and 29th Street, right above the Empire State Building. The artist had had a studio in Chelsea for years. Much of his production comes from this "American era". Mayan Diary, a silkscreen work on plexiglass. Plastic to commune with nature and the lights of the grave. It is Léo Castelli who gives him his first tips. The gallery owner is the discoverer of Robert Rauschenberg, Twombly, Jasper Johns... Castelli, the greatest art dealer in the world, one of the main initiators of American abstract expressionism, the promoter of pop art (Warhol, Lichtenchtein, Judd or Rosenquist...) " He taught me the art profession. That is to say, the way to sell oneself, to be in the business in order to continue to create without having to starve. The exact opposite of what I had been taught in France". Jean-Pierre was telling me about that moment when, after graduating from the School of Fine Arts, horses had first allowed him to live while waiting to sell his first paintings (a breeding farm of horses ... American in the Haut-Doubs).
I went to Toronto to get closer to a gallery. It was the first one that really helped me. Canada... and then New York. Exhibitions in Harlem, Manhattan... As for the rest, I don't know or so much to say, not much. That is also to say that I am not a man to snoop around in the curriculum of people I meet for the first time. New York, Manhattan, Castelli, Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol... I already had a lot to do with the decor. We were talking with a wall of fire behind us. A fresco of "Mexican" facture... or to be precise, a meeting of cosmic forces led by Wak-Chan-Ahaw, the Mayan god of corn. The installation of about twenty serial works in the colors of a wide range of syrup (forgive my digression). A "spiritual" confectionery erected like a modern totem pole on the hotel of some ancient worlds. Man, the horse breeder in his early days, had started with abstraction to get rid of it completely in the face of the power of the sun and the aesthetics of rain. Sergent's painting does not tell a story (in the sense of a dying 18th century Western painting, I mean!) but rather amplifies a natural "superhuman" vitality. Quite the opposite of a Goya for example (this cry of anguish of a man abandoned by the gods, said Malraux about the painter of Saturn or the Three May). Courbet rather. Yes, a "representation" of Courbet ... better than an old salon "tale". Or Manet, that's it, just colour; let's go for Manet and we won't talk about it anymore. Let's keep it simple: anything but fiction. Or to finish on this theme of the invoice... and to come back for a moment to Pollock... Not a way, a style, to propose an image of nature, but nature itself.
To tell you the truth, Sergeant's work has more to do with the material of a Giotto, the makers of the quattrocento apparitions. The same ones who dealt with the transparencies of the sky through restored ancient truths. For here we are at last. Sergeant... the shaman. An initiate into "primitive" demiurgy, the obsessions of archaic societies. His work calls upon the forgotten forces of the mandala, the axis mundi and the subterranean worlds, this vibration of the entire cosmos... Fertile strata, which interpenetrate like sexes at the hour of transfiguration. Each insolated typon, each layer of colour drawn one on top of the other on paper or synthetic glass plate... elaborates an alchemical element, indivisible from the final conjunction. And I will not have said anything yet about the point of the thousand atomic variations of these hallucinating images (these hallucinations), their brilliant powers; without having evoked the trajectory, clear-cut, that immediately imposes itself between Western pornographic art and the tribulations of the Inuit, Siberian, Japanese or pre-Columbian pantheon. Harmonic variations around the instrument of love, and allow me then to summon Fragonard's le verrou of Fragonard or Gustave Courbet's Origine du monde to the table of metamorphoses, sexually notable. In Sergent's, women's bodies are filled with jubilant shamanic idols. A sexual representation of the sensitive world that connects us to each other through a kind of original purity of the senses. A world "before architecture". The work is a form of archaeology of invisible forces, an accumulation of instincts in the mode of sacred reasoning. Painting as pure energy; a sensual, yes, sexual impulse... to go all the way. "A burst of libido" proclaims Sergeant. Yes, to be quite clear "only the body is right".
Take this light pink dominant tone Mayan Diary #12 for example... The young woman is bound, handcuffed according to the Japanese Kinbaku/Shibari rite. The image is seen from above and pierced with masked phylacteries, illegible in their entirety... an offering perhaps, or a sacrifice under a layer of legendary eagles drawn like winged chalices, celestial prowlers (understand here the object as the most widespread expression attached to it: this chalice to be drunk to the dregs... and add this theme of suffering and humiliation as a source code applicable to the whole. (We have talked a lot about this particular point of an experience of pain and the idea of a "humiliating" sexual practice imposed on the body. Jean-Pierre did not necessarily agree with this first translation without forcing me to change my point of view on his work. "This magical moment when ultimate suffering is transformed into an Ocean of pleasure" wrote the artist in New York in 2002. In the end, we came to a common interpretation of a Western gaze asphyxiated by a whole profane, hermetic machinery of vision. No aerial chalice then, as I had thought I would soon see, but "a hotel of sacred flames", Sergent explains. The burning embers insinuated between the thighs of a woman's body tortured according to her own wish. The ritual fire of an archaic church suspended from love ropes. A furnace of the women's forges, and the combustion of its coarse envelope; the engine of periodic regeneration. A fecundating and purifying fire superimposed on the most confusing act of physical ecstasy. This is more seriously what should be seen in Sergent's Bondages, and I was no longer sure of anything!) My interlocutor pointed out that I could only see with my eyes, and I measured the considerable effort that I would then have to make to reach the considerable heights of the blaze without completely discarding my a priori.
It remained to finish the initiatory journey with this Mayan Diary #12... Yes, end the journey by the beginning; by the first layer of visible pigments if you prefer. Notice then an almost military sight. Industrial pointers spread over the body of this Venus, finally more sure of itself than I thought. The frosted glass of an architect's camera, a geoplan, the viewfinder of a reflex camera. A device of crosses adjusted as if to indicate the four directions and their center. The Latin crux (that of the tormentor), the crosses of Krishna, those of the Incas carved in the shards of jasper. The cross... omniscient, universal. The whole, the work thus "reunited" ... is to be thought of as a place of meditation, a sacred cave, but entirely open to the modern world.
Ecstasy or Death? Such may be the question posed by Sergent's monumental work; or understand the conjugation of the two, in a form of balance of the passing masses... there lies perhaps the matrix of the ancient Mayan calendar. A fear of the ancestral void and the color of the earth to cling to the stars. It's like sunstroke.
In conclusion, Jean-pierre Sergent wanted to publish this text written in New York in 2002. The artist evokes here beauty. "Beauty known in France only as a bourgeois aesthetic value and not as a cosmic energy, which we may have forgotten to talk about in the film," he wrote to me.
BEAUTY IS ENERGY
"With beauty may I walk" The Night Navajo Song
Before money by inscribing time in history dramatically deprived us of our fullness, beauty was in harmony with our inner time as an organ, an aura, a cosmic harmony.
It is this freedom that it is up to us to rediscover in universal time, the time of bees with yellow and black stripes, red ants, red ladybirds with black dots that speak to the ancestors, golden beetles messengers of the Gods, birds of paradise and flowers with exuberant sensuality.
Man had understood this empirically by imitating Nature which was made beautiful and desirable to survive eternity.
Beauty is a life force as much as libido, the only hope for survival in a violent and chaotic world. More than an aesthetic notion, it is a spiritual force, a tangible link to communicate with the spirits of the visible and invisible worlds.
Thus each leaf of the tree is a silent field of love that we must learn to listen to every day.
Jean-Pierre SERGENT, New York, July 2002
Jean-Luc Gantner, author and director of several documentary films (in Lithuania, Equatorial Africa, Maghreb, Himalayas, Iran...). A television reporter, he has notably worked on Les nouveaux mondes / France 2; Envoyé spécial / France 2; Metropolis / Arte; Thema / Arte; Le magazine du sénat / France 3. He is currently employed as a reporter for the editorial staff of France 3 Franche-Comté and also runs a blog on the net: Le journal de néon