Jean-Pierre Sergent


Artist's texts & statements

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"There really are centuries when the soul goes back to sleep and no one cares about it anymore." * 

Art is not only an exoticism of the living because it has a soul of its own. And our contemporary European and French society, for exemple, is so inhabited by a pervasive "sadness", very dark and contagious, that it is difficult for us artists to float, whatever it takes, in the middle of this deleterious environment. Art and ourselves are like icebergs lost in the open sea, but buried, drowned by the non-salinity of this unsalty, burying water. This diluted brine no longer allows us to float proudly at 9/10 of our submerged mass, like any beautiful iceberg erected, horny, vertical, virgin, white and joyful self-respecting itself. This ratio having rather collapsed, we could bet that our floating level is now only around 99/100 of our submerged mass in this desalinated, poor, dehumanized sea. As for these poor and sad sailors of trinkets, without great hopes of distant horizons, without prospects of interesting human and artistic adventures.
This fact, very unfortunate, despite all our efforts, seems to have taken hold, little by little and insidiously, with capitalist logic and after the great shocks of the last twentieth century: the great artistic movements that shook Art and our ways of seeing life; but also and above all, of course, after the two great World Wars and the terrible human genocides, hardly comparable historically, except of course with the colonization of the Americas through the enslavement and almost extermination of its indigenous peoples.
So, could Art really survive these great upheavals, this crazy artistic freedom? These deep historical shocks? As well as this new financialized, capitalized, commodified and even institutionalized Art Market, which transformed Art, like everything else, into a commodity? It would seem rather paradoxically that not, despite the astronomically high, edifying and never reached selling prices of this market! For Art seems to have lost its meaning, its vitality, its beauty and its "spirit"!
And even beauty**, if so then it remains only aesthetic, has completely disappeared from contemporary artists preoccupations; except perhaps for a few hobby painters... And then spirituality is of course itself, no longer evoked at all in our time, so aptly named post-cultural, so totally secularized. Does this mean, as Maeterlink so precisely put it, that the soul and its associated beauty would no longer be relevant anywhere?

"At a very remote time in India's history, the soul must have approached the surface of life to a point where it never reached again. [...] Remember Persia, for example, Alexandria and the two mystical centuries of the Middle Ages."

Because, of course, nowadays, and this I know from my experience and long artistic practice: the soul (the vital energy) no longer touches, transcends, questions, moves, pierces anything or anyone. Neither the public in general, nor art world aficionados such as collectors, museum directors, gallery owners etc., nor even individuals in particular... 
Buried, repressed, lost, crushed, Art and soul welded together like fusional and eternal lovers, cursed perhaps? They have definitely sunk and are also thrown out to pasture, among an infinite amount of vulgar and suffocating waste of common consumer goods, simple minded thoughts, submissive acts and wills created by all human beings, now all of them having become and like the sheep of Panurge, very small ordinary and pathetic consumers, even when buying works of art worth millions of dollars... Just small consumers! No more! No less!

So when will there be a rebirth? An awakening of Art and soul? To be continued!

* The awakening of the soul, in The treasure of the humble, Maurice Maeterlinck
** "On the other hand, there are perfect centuries when intelligence and beauty reign very purely, but the soul does not show itself. Thus, it is very absent in Greece and Rome, and from the French 17th and 18th centuries. We do not know why, but something is missing; secret communications are cut off, and beauty closes its eyes. It is very difficult to express this in words and to say why the atmosphere of divinity and fatality that surrounds the Greek tragedies does not seem to be the true atmosphere of the soul."

Jean-Pierre Sergent, December 29, 2020

Desire and the Hurricane

New York, November 6, 2002, Gallery 138

- "I am in every things the desire, in harmony with the cosmic order." Bhagavad Gîtâ.

Desire burns us alive. Nothing could ever be more ambiguous than this fire that destroys our reality as we drown ourself's in another realm. This desire suspended on your lips, like a child lost in the night, it is life and it is death, on the door of the morning of love. This is the end of the flesh, and the sun of the soul. Everything merges, this the fusion, the end and the beginning, sensual memory, sulfurous path and death of time.

Desire blind ours eyes. Nothing matters anymore than the curves of your hips, and the warmth and darkness of your womb, a secure place from which I will always be reborn, like a bird, like a tree, a pure spirit.

This is the archaic desire, the one that nourishes life, every day, every night, and even in between. It is crossing every thing, like water and wind. It is the breath of eternity which is here, there, before and after us.

This is desire, the big thief of the self. Inhabiting me, stilling my brain, my will and my power. Every hour he is there, killing my loneliness and exploding it into a myriad of stars all over inside of my body, like a new blood, a new flesh, a new hope.

About the Mayan Diary painting installation

New York, April-May, 2002, Taller Boricua Gallery

The theme of Mayan culture actually encompasses primitive culture in general, rather than an ethnic group in particular. Even so I find the Mayan imagery highly sensual and spiritual, as it remind's me of the lost paradises dreamt by Gauguin.

Painting is a conveyor of life experiences. One can feel that it expresses the primary energy of life, the color of blood, the strength to stand up, the negation of death, the warm softness of the womb and the near alienation from sexual desire. In that way art is related to desire; it is stronger than the mind, and outlast individual destiny.

The main image is of the Mayan corn-god Wak-Chan-Ahaw. The god that made everything happen, created the universe, and fertilized the world. He is dressed, or undressed, by two beautiful nude women, mothers-lovers-goddesses who, through their gestural offerings, bring him back to life to germination. This image is a metaphor for the human soul's resurrection from an underworld journey after defeating the Lords of death. This scene, from Mayan mythology, takes place on the first day of creation, under water, in the primordial sea. It has a very strong relationship to cosmogony and the human unconscious. The second Mayan image is of the voluptuous Dragon Lady. She seduced one of the principal deities of Xibalbà, the Maya land of the dead, whose power and reputation are comparable to Hades of the Greeks, or Pluto of the Romans. I had encountered those female energies during one of my shamanic journey's. The four small prints are homage to their beauty and their wonderful attractive and healing spirits. The light which emanates from them symbolizes the light they were bathing in as they came to me. On my right shoulder was the Yellow Lady, on my right leg the Red Lady, on my left leg the Black Lady, and on my left shoulder the Blue Lady.

Art or shamanism aren't as important, what is important is life in every shape at every moment. Art, shamanism or even sexuality can serve as a path to better understand the mysteries of creation. Sexual trances can be as powerful as shamanic trances, because during both trances we use different parts of the brain. We experience a change in the body's gravity center, and an alteration of the self. We feel, at that time, an incredible rise in cosmic energy, as well as a strong connection with every being; plants, animals, earth, or the sun. This way of being reconnected is essential. It teaches us love, compassion and give us an idea of the infinite traveling paths of souls in other dimensions.

Painting speaks for what it is : memories, raw spectacle, visual pleasure and pure emotion. Let love and death be the only true eternal human tragedies.

Beauty is Energy

New York, July, 2002, Plazza Hotel

- "With beauty may I walk." The Night Navajo Chant

Before money, by inscribing time in history, violently dispossessed us of our happiness, beauty was related to interior time, like an organ, an aura, a cosmic harmony.

Our freedom rests in finding our way back to this cosmic time, the time of yellow and black bees, red ants, ladybugs that spoke to the spirits, golden beetles that are God's messengers, birds of paradise and flowers of exuberant sensuality.

Man had understood this empirically during thousands and thousands of years, because Nature had made Herself beautiful and desirable in order to survive and Man imitated Her.

Beauty is the breath of life, as essential as desire, the only hope of survival in a chaotic and dangerous world. More than an esthetic notion, it is a spiritual value, a tangible way to communicate with the reigning spirits of the visible and invisible world. In this way, every tree leaf is a love song that we must once more learn to listen to.

Translated by Anita Anand

Bondage and Freedom

New York, June, 2002, Gallery Juno

Bondage & freedom are my for-last prints realized in September 2003 at my Long Island City, New York studio. It is printed mainly in monotype and 10 editions of 5 prints, acrylic silkscreened on Rives B.F.K. paper 10"x10". It have been shown at gallery 138, New York, in November 2005, and also available at my new studio in Besançon, France.

This magic moment when horrible suffering transforms itself into an ocean of pleasure.

The images of Bondage & Freedom are a perfect metaphor of the current human condition. Man has invented social systems that exceed human measure and crush individuals in an infernal kaleidoscopic spiral. Every human being is a slave, and this outrageous craziness is that of the Marquis de Sade and the French Revolution, when life was so fragile, so violent, so hazardous. It is anti-life, anti-love and the roaring violence of life. The body is tied up: submissive, imprisoned, mutilated in social, monetary, ideological, environmental, terrorist and religious shackles, where the only escape is climax: the transmutation of pain into pleasure.

The images of Bondage & Freedom are also profoundly engraved with the universal human memory of expiatory sacrifice. As within each of us, the memory of a hunter, a cannibal and a sacrificer remain, and what is more violent than to sacrifice woman's beauty to Gods? Contemporary pornography is ritualistic as were the ancient rites performed by the priestesses of Isis, or Dionysus. It is total negation of the ego: the body becomes object, solar and fragmentary explosion like a corpse, meat on a butcher's rack, or fetish... Immersion in the universal, unsaid, unbelonging, lost, magic and the sacred. Systematic fragmentation and annihilation of the seductive image that Woman projects herself when she dominates Man. It is the still dance of the nude body, open, spread out, offered. The skin switching between tears of pleasure and tears of suffering. Orifices filled with the juice of terror and the expectation of fire.

Bondage is a deviation of impotent, childish men who's Persona is subjugated by the unreachable desire of women's sexual climax, satisfaction that they cannot fulfill. It is a pathetic metaphor of human sexual experience. In the place where chauvinist culture does not have the means to satisfy women's desire, men dominate women by humiliating them. Tied, humiliated, tortured and submissive, woman remains beautiful, queenly and serene, and man looks like a stupid lowly butcher, or an executioner from the Middle Ages.

These images have the same religious presence as some western images of Crucifixion. They picture the moment of a vitrified death in an erotic pre-mortem trance, and they have the immanent beauty of the sacred shroud of Turin. Every culture has invented its own violence to heal itself of its great fear of death, desire, absence, departure, impotence and the ephemeral beauty of life.

About the Mayan Diary

New York, January, 2002, Plazza Hotel

What is remaining from most disappeared societies such as the classical Mayans is the imprint of pleasure and spirituality. Most of those memories came from funerary art entombed with the skeleton of some important rulers, kings or queens. It seems that pleasure is the most regenerating human experience, it has survived millions of years of genetic evolution and several millennium of religious repression. In Mayan art, one can also feel a strong connection with the shamanic experience: the metamorphosis of the human body into an animals spirits or into the spirit of a plant, such as the god of the corn Wak-Chan-Ahaw, those metamorphosis are common to every cultures, such as the Egyptian with their half animals and half human gods, the Greeks with their mythology of the Minotaurs and the centaurs, the paleolithic caves drawings of half man and half bison, etc... All those images are what Jung called universal archetypes. I strongly believe that if those archetype still survive today in the unconscious, they could be a representation of the spiritual self.
The energy and the power of a shamanic trance is an experience beyond the power of every common dreams. I personally experienced such a shamanic metamorphosis, and some of the paintings I will show are a memory of such out of body trances. I strongly believe that contemporary spirituality should strive towards more of those shamanistic practices. Primarily because those trances teach us that every things are connected, every being requires respect, every thing has a meaning and a purpose including our true self's as we all are dependent upon the so called "great spirit", the "anima mundi" or the "red womb of the earth". We can not dissociate one flower from the sun or from butterflies, dolphins, mountains, jaguars, hawks and the human body. Every spirit merges with another. It is pure experience of fusion and love. This strong and humble connection is in total conflict with the pretentious attitude of contemporary man who dissociates and separates all that surrounds him with the help of science, economics, politics and religion. We are experiencing an age of globalization based on a premise that business is the only logical connection between cultures. This expanding state-controlled economy and structure seems to survive from one economic empire to the next. It seems unchallenged except by artists or some indigenous cultures around the world who won't allow their soil to be exploited and their soul to be enslaved by work. Empires inflate themselves as they grow, however there is no room for more expansion on ours planet Earth, neither inside of the human social body, where every human look and act already like a neurotic zombie. So should humanity jump happily into outer space for an other Empire to expand? Alternatively can we go back to some more humanist and reasonable economical systems? A system based on ecology, humility, pleasure, compassion, peace and reciprocity.

One can always dream!

Project for an installation of 13 paintings from the Mayan Diary

New York, August 8th, 2001

“From this nightmare of infinitely expanding technological progress and human needs, only a science of enjoyment can deliver us. But how?
” in Life Against Death, Norman O Brown

    13 paintings from the Mayan Diary are installed on the gallery walls to match the primary cycle of the lunar Mayan calendar. (Please see enclosed drawing and statement). It will be possible to install more paintings depending on the space available. The paintings 55”x55” are done on Plexiglas panels of 1/8” thickness and 41.25”x20.75”, which are silkscreened on the back. Every painting is surrounded by 14 tinted plexiglass panels of 1/8” thickness and 13.75”x6.875”. The paintings are mounted side-by-side on the wall with self-adhesive Velcro. The images have been designed on computer, cut out in ruby films and then silkscreened by hand.
    These paintings have been realized as a diary, where each day is the same and at the same time each day is slightly different. There is always some subtle variations, something more or something less, but the time frame stays the same. It repeats  itself ad infinitum.
    We have to look at the work in a musical way where themes are recurring over and over. It is rather like an opera, with several voices, and each one of equal importance. I chose some Mayan imagery as a main theme because their shamanic culture appears to me so rich in energy, imagination, color and life; unlike our westernized, formatted and uniform art and civilization. Not that their society was better or more humanistic than ours; but their images just appealed to me as some kind of esthetic true, spiritual freedom, drawn with an incredible sensuality and boldness of color. Also the beauty and the violence of some of those images remind me of the violence and the mysterious mechanical energy of nature. It  is totally hidden in our society as well as the violence of sex, the violence of love, the violence of death, the spiritual journey and the poetry of life.
    I am not talking here about the violence due to desperation and loneliness spreading in our contemporary social structures. I talk about the violence and harmony of the purple red velvet skin of the roses which attracts the bees into their corolla under the sharp rays of the summer sun.

My paintings are germinations, cosmogonies, energy systems, artistic exterminations...

New York, January, 2001

One must look at my paintings not as paintings, not as art objects, but as some sacred spaces of conflicts and creations. An enclosed, chaotic, ethereal space where several energies mix together, attract each other, harmonize and destroy each other, and transmute into pure energy. My approach is more shamanic than esthetic and more alchemical than philosophical.
I always have been fascinated by painting done on supports other than canvas or wood panels. For example, prehistoric cave paintings, paintings on Greek, Mayan and Moche vases; paintings in Egyptian tombs and sarcophagi, Islamic ceramics, prehistoric Chinese pottery, Aztec and Mayan codices, manuscripts of the Middle Ages, Tibetan mandalas, graffiti quickly written on modern city walls, Indian miniatures, mola blouses of the Kuna Indians of Panama, Tierra del Fuego Selk'man Indian painted body spirits, finger imprints on the mud of the cave ceiling of Pech-Merle, Siberian and American shaman drums, painted loincloths on bark strips of the Mbuti and Mangbetu Pygmies, Japanese shunga on rice paper, magic paintings on Sioux teepees, Australian aboriginal dream maps on bark, sand paintings of the Navajo medicine man, paintings on wooden shields made by the Asmat people of New Guinea, Mexican and Guatemalan ceremonial masks, etc...
I have also been fascinated by painting done before the advent of architecture, for architecture (except that of the ancient Egyptian, Mayan, Greek, Aztec, Inca, Assyrian civilizations, and that of cathedral builders) has completely killed artistic freedom and expression by converting imagery into a window frame, and it has subordinated, constrained and annihilated through its utilitarian and profane function: the mysteries of the unconscious, all kinds of magic, the earth's telluric energies, cosmogonies, the connections womb-dwelling, mythologies, communal social structures, dreams and all the directional spiritual axes. Finally, painting as pictures get me bored and totally alienate me, because it remains a narrow, bourgeois, representational, European and religious way of picturing the world. Let's get rid of the idea of the "painting"!

My work is about beauty, freedom and ecstasy in sexual and in spiritual experience, there in the heart of the scene of creation. The act of ejaculating into the stars and in the warm womb of a woman who is at her climax, in the eye, in the gaze of the cosmos. The beauty of the body of a woman who is sucking a (cockx) while being fucked. The color of pleasure, the juice that runs out of her pussy lips, that door open over the clouds of Baudelaire, Axis Mundi, between yesterday and tomorrow. My only spirituals values: the tone of your skin, the curved shadows of your tits, the irrational blackness of your hairy triangle, the powerful bloody veins of trees and rivers, the subtle impermanence of the wind, the sexual viscosity of the fishes, the crazy swarming of insects, the near death silence of stones, the black and blue shadow of the night, the joyous yellow supernumerary of stars... I am a life and life is light, passionate, violent... Images, colors and forms devour each other, fight each other, love each other, revolt against each other... And somewhere, some kind of shaman with an over powerful heart infiltrates himself; he is here, universal stream of light, and life is infinite and sexed.

Translated by Anita Anand

Uxmal - New York A Mayan Diary

New York, 2000

- "When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet, I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains." C.G. Jung.

Uxmal; from those ghostly ruins there still emanates the magic energy of a whole civilization. New York; is where I live, a place that will also become one day, with the perpetual gnawing of time, a faded and forgotten skeleton.

This body of paintings was created in a musical, serial, tonal and repetitive style.

The main image is one of the Mayan corn-god Wak-Chan-Ahaw. The one who made everything happen, who created the universe, and who fertilized the world. He is dressed, or undressed, by two beautiful naked women, mothers-lovers-goddesses who throughout their gestural offerings bring him back to life, to germination. This image is a metaphor for the human soul resurrection from the underworld journey after defeating the Lords of death. This scene from the Mayan mythology takes place on the first day of creation, under water, in the primordial sea, and therefore has a very strong relationship to cosmogonies and the human unconscious.

Some images come from contemporary pornography, also featuring its archetypes of phallic resurrections and germinating offerings. Other images are from shamanic drawings, some are spatial representations of the Axis Mundi, while others are drawing from shamanic journeys I have experienced under hypnosis. There is also some vulvas genetic patterns, and some imprint of classical Mayan vases and ground-stone chisels.

The work is still in process and new images are integrated during the realization of new paintings.

The paintings will be presented side by side; the arrangement of the work will be determined by the configuration of the exhibition space. It would be best to have a wall measuring at least 32 feet long, on which I could install seven paintings to clearly express the cyclic pattern of time.

Indian Names, or liberty before the establishment of the supernumerary laws

New York, 2000

- "The land, witch had been common to all, like the sun light and the breezes, was now divided up far and wide by boundaries, set by cautious surveyors." The iron age, Ovid, Metamorphoses.

The hue, the spirit, the substantial
Transformation, assimilation
Power, dream, courage
The interconnection of Man, Nature, Culture, and Universe
Force, tenderness, poetry
The violence of life
The stars and the clouds
Circles, innocence
Liberty before the establishment of the supernumerary laws
Plenitude, freedom, color
An offering
The word without verbs
Object, animal, tree, thunder
Woman, stream, pebbles
Fire, shadow, blood
the womb, the Universe

Translated by Andrea Meyer

Nomad Territory - from the Circle to the Square

New York, September,1999, DFN Gallery

- Art, like Architecture, is in a violation of natural space.

Most spaces inhabited by nomadic people are constructed out of a circular form: From the Eskimos Igloos, to the Mongolian Yurt, the North American Indians Tipis, to the Pygmy Huts of Africa...
At the end of this century, we are witnessing the final stages of a settling process, which began 10 000years B-C- and witch has spread across the entire surface of the earth. We are witnessing the mortal agony of hunting and gathering peoples, by converting them no more Into agrarian peoples but into a sort of zombie, incapable of surviving the economic disturbances brought on by financial markets and International Trusts that hope to transform the entire world into "squares heads", and consumers of hamburgers and Coca-cola. We still devastate their land and exploit their resources: Minerals, forests and Livestock. Even worse, we destroy their cultures and beliefs by forcing them to adopt our religion and welcome hordes of tourists.
Nomadic territory are also migratory zones for Whales, Salmon, Pilgrim Falcons, Reindeer from Siberia, Bison and swallows.
"Father, I wish you good health for ever, we will always wander in new places and our reindeer will never die." Siberian song.

Translated by Andrea Meyer


New York, 1999, Words & concepts for the Nomad Territories work.











The Mirror of Day and Night

New York, May 10, 2000

- "They saw the light and the dark as equal opposite, not simply as light on a background of dark." Art from the Andes, R. Stone Miller.
- "Ometecuhtli/Omecihuatl*, he is the mirror of days and nights." M.L. Portilla, Aztec Thought.

Night is only the earth's shadow
The women , Gaia** and Nut***, bring together the rational and irrational
Vulvas, wombs, and stars
Stars, wombs, and vulvas
Life create itself, repeats itself, pushes itself into being
260 days, 260 nights
The sacred observes us
with the balance of an open shell
The house rocks
Night is there, where the earth's shadow rest.

*Ometecuhtli/Omecihuatl: "Lords of the Duality, the supreme creator deity of the Aztecs, who envisioned this deity as a mystical entity with a dual nature akin to the European concept of the trinity."
**Gaia: "Her pregnant belly, her miraculous womb emitting life energy and receiving it back at death."
***Nut: "I am the mistress of the sky and the stars, I am mother of the sun."

Translated by Andrea Meyer

The dream of an imprisoned man

New York, May 8, 2000

After Giotto, the dream of Innocent III, and Sade, The 120 days of Sodom.
- "The occidental man is bewitched, trapped in a state of slavery by the "thousand and one things" that are surrounding him. He sees them one by one, he is imprisoned inside the self and inside the objects, unaware of the deep root of the humane being." C.G. Jung
- "One can acquire liberty, but one can never regain it again". J-J Rousseau.

Our societies are prisons
Our religions are prisons
Our work is a prison
Money is a prison
Love is a prison
Dreams are a prison
Sickness is a prison
Desire is a prison
The body is a prison
Death resembles desire
Painting hope water from a spring, from the sea.

Translated by Andrea Meyer

Dionysos, Perpetual Orgy or Organs of Life

New York, Gallery Juno, January 15/February 20, 1999

- "It is the world of water, where all life floats in suspension." C.G. JUNG.

The square space is the womb of dreams.American society transforms its sexual frustration into heightened violence.
Tantra doctrine, unlike Christianity and Buddhism, integrates sexuality into religion, rather than suppressing the libido in favor of isolation and contemplation.
Sexuality is a social phenomenon.
Sexuality is overburdened with sacrality.
Sexual energy stands in direct opposition to death.
The erotic image never leaves us indifferent; it has a role and a function, hence its attraction, its violence, its perversity. It directly touches the spectator's soul...
The libido represents both freedom and obligation: freedom to act as an individual and obligation to reproduce as a species. Simple pleasure does not exist. Even in De Sade, we recognize the will to destroy the result of pleasure, perhaps here lies the ultimate pleasure?...
Transformation of the subject into object; Man's regression into his primary state - bestial, cannibalistic, naked; dissolution of the self into "the world of water".
Erotic violence is both natural and culturally integrated; Greek vases display this folly, this desire to renew the universe by renewing the self and society in a Dionysian orgy. Orgies have always had a paradisiacal quality, as in Genesis, something prehistoric that disrupts established social boundaries.
Art and Eroticism stand in opposition to society organized around work, thus becoming sulfurous, taboo. The more societies work, the less individuals achieve emotional and sexual climax, and this imbalance lodges itself between conscious reality and subconscious aspiration. Primitive societies do not suffer from this dichotomy, as they knew how to integrate work and sexuality in a natural, mythological and artistic fashion.
Ultimately desire exists only to break the solitude and reintegrate the individual into the human community; the realm of living and sexual beings.

Translated by Andrea Meyer

Amana*, Paradise Lost

New York, Febrauary 2, 1999, York Square Gallery, CT

*"Amana, goddess of water, is a beautiful woman whose elegant form ends in the tail of a serpent, who symbolizes at once time and eternity. She regenerates herself periodically, shedding her skin just like a snake, like the souls of the dead, like the earth itself." M. Eliade

Time devours the present like the son of a ravenous devil

The gods, ruins of humans past, are submerged, forgotten

Each man crushed by the machine remembers,

Dream of nature, beauty, creation...

Civilizations collapse, overlap, become entangled

Empires giving birth to new empires

From nature springs water as if from a womb

Man today is never whole

Between the past and the future he cannot exist

Where does completeness lie?

Translated by Andrea Meyer

Suspended Time

New York, February 26, 1998, text for the exhibition at the French institute


Painting is the interrogation of the moment, of time immovable, it's the acid that gnaws at the marrow of our memory, lying there crushed, gaping, exposed. The image is like a tool that pierces, that thrusts its symbols into the heart of personal time. What is stopped is actually to become, the instant repeats itself ad infinitum. The water, the stars, the death, the scripture, the fire... The metamorphosis of an inert image into a magical one. The silence opens up a psychic vacuum, thirsty for life and for blood... Game of exchange, we will become what we have seen...

Translated by Andrea Meyer.

Suspended Time: Painting = Zone of Compression

New York, February 1998, text for the exhibition at the French institute

The paintings presented at the French Institute/ Alliance Française represent the result of many months of work and reflection. The images were gathered during voyages to natural sites (photos of animals, rivers, plants and old water mill) ; museum visits (Greek statues, the skull of Asmat) ; events (photos of bullfights) ; drawings of hand prints and other symbols; and finally several images taken from books (both cultural and historical): an Indian diagram of the cosmic representation of time, a drawing of the outlines of the prehistoric cave at Pech-Merle, a text by Georges Bataille taken from The Story of the Eye and finally a text by Alfred de Musset, taken from Gamiani.

The images, which are 42 x 42 inches in size, are silkscreened onto nine 14 x 14 inches Plexiglass panels. These panels are juxtaposed and then surrounded by 14 x 7 inches pieces of Plexiglass x 96 inches.

My painting space appears like a zone of conflict between different images and texts. The images seem compressed in a flat, enclosed space, behind the surface of the Plexiglass. Many layers of images are printed in different colors on the same panel, thus creating stratifications, a virtual depth, a space in which the spectator has the liberty to travel. At times the images hinder one another, annihilate each other and are metamorphosed into the vague and the chaotic, creating abstract spaces in which only movement and the "coincidentia oppositorum" can survive. The images do not serve as illustration of the text. Neither do the texts illuminate the images.

The installation in the entry way can be interpreted as a pathway, a development, an initiation:
First, the sudden appearance of the verb, energy, creation, symbols, and aesthetic awakening;
And then the appearance of animality with all its confusion, its stammering, its libido, its unconscious, its intimacy;
then the appearance of consciousness of historic time, of death, of disappearance, of absence, of cosmic time, of genetic continuity...
and finally detachment, dreams, take off, contemplation, the informal, the timeless, the place where images are vanishing, serenity, maybe wisdom...

The large piece in the hall may be interpreted in the following way:
The bird of prey is dismantled, and he seems to fall in regard to a central point, thus creating a sacred space with it own points of reference. We might see a reference to the Breugel painting The Fall of Icarus, we may also feel the influence of the sand paintings of the Navajo Indians or maybe Tibetan mandalas. The Bataille's text is depicting the scene were in just a few lines, Simone falls into ecstasy while Granero the bullfighter dies, gored by the bull. The images are like reference point in historic time: a water lily (fragility, vanity, ephemeral beauty suspended between water and sky, the supreme subtlety of nature), a statue of Venus (the perpetuity of art, the presence of the female body as an archetype, the sensuality), an old window (ruin, passage, openings, the construction of man and destruction of time), the execution of the bull (ritual sacrifice in a closed and sacred space, the magical moment in which man appropriates an animal's life), an old water.

Translated by Andrea Meyer.

Painting = Religious process

New York, January 1998

Transformation of the object into the subject, desacralization of the subject to transform it into an object.
Consciousness of primary forces: Life, Death, Sexuality, the Unconscious...
Consciousness of secondary forces: Beauty, Lyricism, Poetry, Anxiety. Compression of time, structure, space and spirit.
Opening and dialogue towards another, similar or bestial.
Staging of the work as part of the process of religiosity.
Transcendence of the Ego, of the libido, and all impulses.
The artist is always at the center of the construction/destruction process.

Body, Trace, Memory

New York, January 1998

Text for the group show co-curated with Stefan Becker at the Eight Floor Gallery, NY, january 1996

- "The human mission on earth is to remember." Henry Miller in Remember to Remember.

Informations dating back to the origins of mankind remains alive in our collective mind. One of the primal ways or expressing this information is through art. Throughout history artists have never ceased to be fascinated with the reflection of the human image. This fascination is still present and even more powerful today, since the body serves as a tangible place of refuge in life.

With the decline of religious practices, the digitalization of all information, and the industrialization of each and every natural or cultural space, the body appears to be the only "space" where one can still recognize oneself and exist. We are caught in a limbo created by this desecration and the development of new technologies which hurtle us into boundless, yet sterile, virtual space. Within the narrow margins of our own bodies, we travel into ourselves as if in refusal to communicate anything other than our own reflections.

Is it fascination or narcissism? Does the exterior worlds still exist? Is the other still present?

Works on Paper or the Anti-Paintings

New York, May 7, 1997

- "My drawings are not drawings but documents. You must look at them and understand what's inside..." Antonin Artaud

- "Entanglement means that existing decorations were negligible at the moment of the layout of a new image." Lascaux by G. Bataille

As in each sentence, there is almost always: subject, verb, complement...The artistic language is not an exception to the rule, it is built, structured and perceived in the breadth of all our knowledge and our prejudices-visual, social and cultural. It is therefore essential to destroy and to mistreat these rules and these structures so as to make the artistic language bring back its own essence its own principle, its very substance!
Works on paper are included in the time of the painting process, they stem from chance and encounters with images, colors, variations, transparencies, revolts, poetry and dreams. They are sometimes taken up again after several years of silence, they grow old, they catch a sheen, they destroy themselves by overcharge and sometimes they are revived miraculously. They resemble the geological landscapes-stratified, jostled, assaulted by time. They are never finished, and endlessly metamorphose themselves at the eye of the attentive witness. Images superpose, match each other or annihilate themselves inside of chaotic spaces which endlessly vibrate towards a perpetual destiny.

They exist intrinsically like as many self-portraits, with their real presence-physical, sensual, imaginative, macabre, intellectual, plastic, cultural, mystical, affective, sanguine and libidinous.

They often surprised me because of their outrageous liberty, a bit like sketches that would sleep to the inmost depths of the self and that would rise spontaneously, ephemeral, after winters of larval status. Companions of work, companions of paint, accompanists of life, they pose here the traces and the support of the magical and fairy voyage of the artist.

Time is Time

New York, March 27 1997

- "It is the Egyptians who first had the idea that the human soul is immortal,that when,the body has perished, the soul enters another living being which then has its turn to be born, and that after having passed through all the forms inhabiting the earth, the sea, and the air, penetrates a human body once again, at the moment of its birth; this evolution, they say, requires three thousand years." Herodotus, Book II

The idea behind the project for an exhibit in the financial district of New York City is to turn normal environmental values upside down. In other words, in a place that is the financial center of the world, with its power, its ugliness, its noisiness, its excess, its false sacredness, its appearance at one impressive and monstrous; create an enclosed space that is intimate, sacred, silent, saturated in spirituality, and which will exude a connection to that idea of the transmigration of souls espoused by the ancient Egyptians. For whom the world was full of symbols, of deities, of an eternity of poetry and of dreams.

I envision a particular work which would suggest that everything is connected: history, nature, plants, animals, symbols, sexuality, art, religion, literature, the stars, man and his personal experiences; what I call universality and continuity.

I want to take a position contrary to an empire which distances and keep people apart in order to reign more efficiently and which isolates in order to persevere.

Translated by Andrea Meyer

Technical information for the exhibition project Time is Time at the Art Exchange Show in spring 1997

New York, March 1997

Affix to the wall (either room or big walls in hall way) several units, paintings on plexiglass 84 inches high by 42 inches wide, the number of those units installed will depend of the particular space available, but the idea is to put together at least 10 units, side by side, which will create a unity of 35 feet long by 7 feet high(some corners can bee used) please see the enclosed sketch for details.
Each unit will be composed of 9 sheets of plexiglass measuring 14x14 inches, and 16 sheets of plexiglass measuring 14x7 inches. The plexiglass will be affixed to the wall using self-adhesive Velcro. The installation of the piece may take one or two days.

Dancing with discontinuous images

February, 1995

During a trip to France last summer, I encountered Georges Bataille's thoughts in his book Eroticism. In this book, Bataille conceptualizes the discontinuity of existence : the fatality of the human being in a perpetual quest for primordial uniqueness, a state accessible only in death or through ritual or erotic trances. This idea influenced the content of my own work which is realized in the assemblage of Plexiglass pieces, fragmentary images of beings or things, arranged in a square format, mounted on a wall, creating a complete and flowing work. This format of display allows the continuity of space and time to be restored, bringing the spectator to new non-linear spaces.

My search, like Bataille's, is also centered on one question : how to live today in a society which is devoid of spirituality and has lost any sense of sacred, a society that is essentially sacrilegious? I draw my inspiration from history, daily news and my own experience. I choose images, gestures and symbols which resonate beyond concrete and materiel reality. Whether the significations of my work are sacred or profane does not matter, as long as the images convey some meaning or power. In my work, given my vision and goals, I necessarily incorporate images of the taboo, the forbidden, the violent or the erotic. Many of the images I am drawn to have been suppressed, even banned, from various societies at certain times, and then accepted or widely diffused in other times and places.

The more I reflect on what the artistic process should be, the more I think I should move towards Mircéa Eliade's idea... "All creation implies a superabundance of reality, that is to say eruption of the sacred in the world".

Dancing with discontinuous images / Technical information

New York, April 25 1995

-Since March of 1994, all my paintings have been squares of 42 , 69 or 84 inches. My compositions are made of 1/4 inch thick, colorless Plexiglass plates measuring 6.7/8 x 13.3/4 inches or 13.3/4 by 13.3/4 inches.

-I apply acrylic paint behind the Plexiglass, using a silkscreen technique (from 1 to 4 coats). Then I add several coats of paint with a brush, finishing with a coat of white gesso. Each piece is stamped with my name and the date of creation.

-A Polaroid photo of the entire composition, displaying the intended order of the individual plates, is attached to the back of one plate. The composition is mounted with self-adhesive Velcro.

-The paintings are presented side by side. The arrangement of the work is determined by the interior of the exhibition space.

About the first Plexiglas montages

New York, Brooklyn, may 7, 1994

Expressionist in nature, my work refers to the realm of the imagination and the unconscious; it constitutes a dissociative assemblage of encountered images constructed voluntary and consciously. My imagery is drawn from reality, history, art and personal experience. I assemble a number of life-sized sheets of Plexiglas (7 x 14 or 14 x 14 in.), silkscreened and painted on the reverse side, thus leveling and unifying the frontal surface and the values relative to the various images. These assemblages permit me to readily compress or radically expand space-time relationships and to thereby accentuate the importance of the link reuniting these dissimilar and anachronistic elements.

I do not go out searching for these images; it is they who seek me out by questioning, attracting or repulsing me by their presence, their strangeness, power, magic, aggression or cruelty, their ridicule, violence, sensuality, eroticism or ambiguity, their movement, fixity, pertinence or impertinence, their innocence or beauty...

This admixture of images creates a space which, while retaining a rational and quantitative structure, deconstructs the rational thinking of the viewer.

Artist's Statement

New York, Brooklyn, 1993

Whether it be due to a sense of propriety or modesty, it is always difficult to conduct a discourse about one's own work. Nevertheless, it has become a requirement for an increasing number of museums and galleries and, since it seems that nobody knows what to think about art anymore, I will attempt to address that grand enterprise of being an artist.

Having lived in the countryside for several years in the company of horses, goats, dogs, cats, and other animals, painting came to represent a realm of gathering, a tranquil harvest. For a long time I worked solely on the colored resonances of adjoining surfaces. Gradually, after a period during which I lived in Montreal, far from my roots and culture, it became increasingly difficult to express myself thoroughly within the confines of an abstract space, however strong its manifestation. This was no doubt due to the fact that: life in the city is a very cloistered one, without any real rapport with or true need for other individuals. This situation drove me to integrate figurative elements (press clippings, magazine images, photographs) into my work to reconjure up a world for which I longed. As these elements accumulated and were assembled, I decided to use silkscreen to reproduce them in various colors. I generally print my silkscreens on plexiglass (7" X 14" panels); this allows an infinite variety of modulations. I also use metal (copper, aluminum, lead), as well as canvas and wood. 
Since April 1993, I have lived and worked in New York, and my work has taken on an orientation closer to that of the object: the sacred and profane object, site for improvised recollection, encounter, and pleasure. I gather countless objects and take photographs, principally of the trees and animals of my country. I then assemble the various elements, trying to remain as free as possible, without extracting a moral or taking a stance. I just let the work happen. The principal concern of my work is to give utterance to those things I enjoy watching as they live, vibrate, rejoice, and expire.