Catalogues Texts - 2020
TEXTS FOR THE CATALOG OF THE EXHIBITION THE FOUR PILLARS OF HEAVEN AT THE MBAA OF BESANÇON | SPRING 2020 | CATALOGUE PDF (10MB)
BY THIERRY SAVATIER
What is an artist? The question is a challenging one and UNESCO1 definition, too vague to be exploited, betrays the difficulty of the exercise. However, let us try to advance, in full awareness of lexicographical imperfection, that an artist is the junction of talent, an aesthetic (often called upon to evolve with time), a work of every moment and a real intellectual approach that leads him or her as much to think about his or her art as to think about the world. Jean-Pierre Sergent clearly fits this profile. One only has to look at his works, on paper or Plexiglas, to become aware of his talent and his uncompromising aesthetics which allows us to never confuse his creations with those of his contemporaries. One only has to meet him to understand the importance that work occupies in his life, even when he is outside his studio. Finally, it is enough to exchange with him and read his texts to discover an original, solid, structured intellectual approach, which integrates his work into the world - a world much larger than the one that directly surrounds him since it extends, horizontally, over the five continents and, vertically, that is to say, in a historical perspective, to the creative dawn of humanity. Its curiosity about the Other, this "Other" taken as the archetype of otherness (that which is outside him and his culture of origin), is immense.
The exhibition "The Four Pillars of the Sky", hosted by the Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie de Besançon, proposes a collection of 72 silkscreen prints on Plexiglas chosen by Jean-Pierre Sergent from a series produced from 2010 to 2015 under the generic title of "Entropic Suite". Should we see in "Suite entropique" a play on words based on homophony, which would summon both the epithet "anthropic" ("qualifies any element provoked directly or indirectly by human action", says the glossary of the public site "Géorisques") and "entropic" which evokes the idea of disorder of a system, of chaos? One cannot help but think so because the artist, as an observer of his environment, has long since become aware of the evolution of what is called, even if the term still raises polemics, the anthropocene, an evolution which, without yielding in the least to millenarianist delusions, highlights the emergence of imbalances whose multiplication and amplitude could lead to chaos.
As for the title of the exhibition, it heralds the vertical relationship that we can maintain with a higher entity - whether we call it Cosmos, God or Great Architect is of little importance - as part of a quest for spirituality. But, at the same time, it is too close to the "Four Pillars of Wisdom" dear to Confucius and the Chinese cosmogony defining the harmony of the universe not to refer to them, even indirectly or unconsciously.
These 72 panels with identical dimensions (1.05 x 1.05 m) occupy the four corners of the museum's double central staircase, forming a monumental 80 m2 installation. We discover them as we climb the steps. This ascending movement is the first step in what could be called an exploration - dare we add: an initiation, because approaching these works is a real experience, both sensory and spiritual. The effect is reinforced by the fact that these panels are veneered with the austere stone of the walls, without any framing to materialize reassuring boundaries. This contrast between the coloured work and the natural stone is reminiscent of the exhibition of Picasso's paintings that was hosted in Avignon, at the Palais des Papes, from May to September 1970. Many critics, baffled by the unbridled and sunny eroticism of a vigorous 89-year-old artist, had described his paintings as "obscene smears". But when he came to check the hanging before it opened to the public, the painter had all the frames removed, because he wanted to confront his paintings only with the raw walls. This opposition of materials was probably not unrelated to the frightened reaction of the specialized journalists, whose profoundly erroneous nature we now measure today...
Before evoking "The Four Pillars of Heaven", in order to tame our gaze, we will take advantage of getting rid of the prejudices linked to a Western culture dominated by the double influence - one reinforcing the other - of Platonic philosophy and Judeo-Christianity. For the universe proposed by Jean-Pierre Sergent frees itself from the binary appreciations that are so familiar to us and on which our judgements are based, from the native and the exotic, the archaic and the modern, good and evil, truth and heresy, white and black, light and darkness. We will therefore have to abdicate our proud, even arrogant temptation to "think knowledge", to classify, to rely on our primary certainties, or, even worse, on our beliefs and their procession of irrationalities. The work needs to be approached with new eyes.
If, however, to help us interpret these Plexiglas panels, we were to call upon a European intellectual source, perhaps we would refer to the Sophists, unjustly decried and despised, to whom we still owe a considerable debt, since they invented rhetoric, promoted doubt as a system of thought and introduced relativism. This principle, according to which there is no "one truth" because it is contingent, subjective, and changes according to the place, time or environment in which we grow up, leaves us complete freedom of appreciation, reinforced by the most daring sophists for whom truth does not exist and who only coexist and confront points of view. From then on, the prospects open to us become infinite.
This is exactly what we need here; let us add that in this, the Sophists came closer to their almost contemporary, Confucius, for whom the universe obeyed a harmony that had to be preserved. Now, according to the Chinese philosopher, because this universe was in perpetual motion, all of its components had to move in order for the harmony to remain. From this observation stems a consequence that reflects the world view in part of Asia: there is no such thing as good or evil defined for eternity as many in the West believe; what is considered good today may become evil tomorrow, and the reverse is just as likely.
This way of thinking, far removed from our system of references, will undoubtedly help us to better understand the works of Jean-Pierre Sergent. For, in his creative universe, these questions are meaningless. A great collector of ethnographic testimonies, he draws his pictorial references from the roots of life, coming from the depths of the ages, then scattered all over the globe in cultures where the relationship with Nature was based on a quest for harmony, not on a relationship of domination. This is why borrowings from Judeo-Christianity are absent from his works, since - let us re-read Genesis I, 26-31 - the place assigned to the human being in the Book rests precisely on the submission of Nature2. On the other hand, a whole animal, vegetable, mineral and mythological world emerges on the Plexiglas, where the place of Man (in the generic sense of the term) is not, of course, forgotten, without however making him the epicentre of the system. The figures proposed to us belong to the pre-Columbian, Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Amerindian and Japanese iconographic registers. The artist has explored these cultures, most of which are pantheistic or animist, even shamanic; he continues to rub shoulders with them. One can sense that, like Antonin Artaud visiting the Tarahumaras of Mexico, his aim is to seek "a new idea of man". The work is as ambitious as the ambition.
Nature, in Jean-Pierre Sergent's paintings, is neither fantasized nor naively idealized. The artist, for a long time in close communion with it, knows that it can be as ferocious or indifferent as it is generous, which explains why the cultural sources to which he refers accord it the greatest respect. These are the mother earth, the primordial source of energy that goes beyond the framework of our simple lives, but are indispensable to their fulfilment.
In front of the perfectly square panels, our gaze is, at first glance, caught by the omnipresence of colours, frank, vivid, contrasted, which do not show any tepidity but on the contrary suggest a rare impression of strength. Even the pink here loses its all too often "cute" character, as Théophile Gautier used to say.
We are also struck by the total appropriation of the space that the artist reserves for himself; the graphics occupy the entire surface of the panels, invading it, constantly soliciting our eye, leaving us no white space, no empty space on which we could, for a moment, rest. The tension is permanent. Moreover, the repetition of certain motifs (lotus or Japanese cherry blossoms, birds, geometric shapes) opens the door to a quasi-hypnotic perception; it seems to us the pictorial translation of the infinite dance of the whirling dervishes or mantras repeated to exhaustion by Buddhists and Hindus, whose aim is to lead those who devote themselves to it to a parallel or superior dimension which leads, for some privileged to trance, for many others to a form of spirituality.
These panels offer us an optical experience exactly opposite to the one we could live, for example, in front of Claude Monet's Nymphéas preserved in the Musée de l'Orangerie. Placed at a very short distance from the Nymphéas, we perceive an abstract painting composed of touches of colour and it is only by moving away slowly that, gradually, the figurative subject appears. Here, seen from afar, the image seems to be an abstraction based on pictorial density and it is by getting closer that we discover very concrete forms. We still need to work on our eyes to understand what the different layers superimposed by the artist conceal in their infinite variety.
Jean-Pierre Sergent works his compositions in successive layers - his technique, silk-screen printing, allows him all the freedom in this respect. It then becomes clear that we cannot rely on appearances, that, as in these cities of the Levant, which archaeologists have shown us had been built on top of each other over the centuries, one form always conceals (and, finally, reveals) one or more others in an unexpected profusion. This exploration is not limited to surprises, it is a real initiation, a journey designed to bring us closer to the painter as a smuggler, to get to know the mysteries of his creation, to share parts of his universe.
The confrontation, the telescoping - or rather the dialogue - of symbolic elements from different cultures, carried out at times very distant from each other, surprises our eyes, unaccustomed to such diversity. We must make an effort to forge links whose logic does not spontaneously impose itself on us, but which nevertheless lead to real coherence.
The "forest of symbols" (the word is from Baudelaire evoking Nature, which, however, this urban dandy did not like) in which we penetrate translates by its density all the preoccupations of Man since he became aware of his existence and wondered about the place he occupied in the universe: fertility, beauty, pleasure, life cycles, suffering, fear of the unknown, finitude (therefore death), necessity, temptation or the illusion of the sky. Without forgetting all the rituals attached to it and acting as rites of passage, which are transmitted from generation to generation. The profane and the sacred, here, are neighbours; they complement rather than oppose each other.
It is very difficult for those who have not freed themselves from their usual pattern, from their arbitrary scales of values, to accept that the profane and the sacred cohabit within these panels outside the classical hierarchical relationship, the first being supposedly vile and the second noble. That sacred symbols are superimposed on scenes of powerful eroticism enhanced by raw texts (art escapes the moralizing notion of pornography) from Japanese Hantai, is shocking to the conservative spirit, no doubt, but also to the supposedly progressive spirit that Philippe Muray called homo festivus, open to any entertainment on offer, officially free, but in reality very much framed by a quickly prudish good sense.
However, by organising this cohabitation, Jean-Pierre Sergent is only getting closer to the fertility rituals omnipresent in the early cultures, but also in Hinduism, through the fertility goddess Lajja Gauri who, with her thighs spread apart, exposes a widely open sex, and ancient Greece with the emblematic figure of Baubo - two symbolic representations of the Feminine that are furiously reminiscent of Gustave Courbet's L'Origine du monde.
Make no mistake, in Jean-Pierre Sergent's work, eroticization is not to be confused with libertine; it calls upon vital energies which are situated on a plane very far from the body's zero degree, which would be obscenity. Sexuality and spirituality have always been linked in ancient societies, like the body to the cosmos, most often to the rhythm of the seasons, until the current of thought oriented towards the ascetic ideal (Abrahamic religions, Platonicism) opposed them, reducing spirituality to the respect of a few dogmas and taboos. The "morality" denounced by Nietzsche, that doloristic morality outside of ethics, which Paul Valéry defined as the obligation to do what is unpleasant and the prohibition to do what is pleasant, has broken this link between sexuality and spirituality, which the artist is working brilliantly to reweave. Titan's work is much more than lacemaking! But he is here in his rightful role, because art escapes the common law. A promoter of freedom of creation and the empowerment of art, Baudelaire, while preparing his defence at the trial of the Flowers of Evil, had written to his lawyer in a formula that has remained famous: "There are several morals. There is the positive and practical morality to which everyone must obey. But there is the morality of the arts. This is quite different, and, since the beginning of the world, the arts have proved it. There are also many kinds of freedoms. There is freedom for the genius and there is a very restricted freedom for the polish. "When they create, artists are not rascals....
By drawing his sources from these little-known or forgotten cultures, Jean-Pierre Sergent makes them known and revives them. "As long as we talk about them, they don't disappear," he writes. This reminds us of one of the narrative springs that Jean Ray had introduced in his novel Malpertuis: the gods of Olympus are called upon to fade into transparency as soon as we no longer speak of them... The work of the painter, by its metaphysical dimension, invites to contemplation, to meditation. But it also offers the viewer an unexpected form of fusion with itself, inasmuch as the Plexiglas support allows the spectator to see his reflection included in the graphic meanders, as if the ultimate stratum of the composition depended on him.
1 "An artist is defined as any person who creates or participates through his or her interpretation in the creation or re-creation of works of art, who considers his or her artistic creation to be an essential part of his or her life, who thereby contributes to the development of art and culture, who is recognized or seeks to be recognized as an artist, whether or not he or she is bound by any kind of working relationship or association. "(Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist, 27 October 1980).
2 "God says: 'Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. Let him be lord over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over every wild beast, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, he created them male and female. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it. Be rulers over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves upon the earth." And God said, "I give you every plant that bears its seed upon the face of the whole earth, and every tree whose fruit bears its seed, to you it shall be for food. To the wild beasts, and to the birds of the air, and to everything comes and goes on the earth and has the breath of life, I give every green herb for food." And so it was. And God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, and the sixth day... "Genesis I, 26-31.
BY MARIE-MADELEINE VARET: FOUR PILLARS OF HEAVEN !
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
BY PIERRE BONGIOVANNI: JOURNEY TO THE END OF MAN'S POSSIBLE: THE QUESTION OF EROTICISM AND ECSTASY IN THE PAINTED WORK OF JEAN-PIERRE SERGENT
"Our experiences are aimed at general insubordination, a rejection of all enslavement and prisons of being, and are embodied in the effusions of ecstasy, eroticism, drunkenness, sacredness, sacrifice, tragedy, laughter, dance, poetry, art."
Georges Bataille, The Inner Experience (1943)
The words of Georges Bataille (the outpourings of ecstasy, eroticism, drunkenness, the sacred, sacrifice, tragedy, ...) seem to belong only to the literary universe, so much their use in the ordinary of days seems inappropriate, when they are not invited only to embellish words devoid of inner necessity.
It so happens that these words are also those of Jean-Pierre Sergent.
Pronounced in the protected space of his workshop in Besançon, these words are at home, almost under house arrest. It must be said that for him the whole world condenses there, protected by a Praetorian guard made up of books of philosophies and the wisdoms of the world, objects, fetishes, messages, photographs, traces, fragments, fragments of his past lives.
This people of words, forms, links constitutes the epidermis of a body whose cells are the works, present by hundreds.
This body is the accomplice of a brain constantly oscillating between suffering and drunkenness, one engendering the other without respite.
When he evokes ecstasy Jean-Pierre Sergent no doubt recalls the words of Maurice Blanchot: "one can only write this word (ecstasy) by carefully putting it in quotation marks, because no one can know what it is about and first of all whether it ever took place: going beyond knowledge, implying non-knowledge, it refuses to be affirmed other than by random words that cannot guarantee it."*
Jean-Pierre Sergent celebrates the exulting body, vital energy, trance and voluptuousness while knowing perfectly well the impossibility of representing them truly other than as "states of presence". His works are what remains of this vain attempt.
During his travels, he was able to experience** shamanic trance, the possibility of living in freedom in the midst of joyfully desperate beings (during his long and fruitful stay in New York) before returning (in 2004) to the provincial language of a France cluttered, ad nauseam, with itself.
This is why her studio is much more than a refuge, it is the lair of an alchemist fomenting poetic attacks, solitary insurrections or the burning chapel of a defrocked monk unable to renounce the incendiary breath of the utopia that consists in piercing THE mystery.
His erotic paintings do not seek to provoke. They evoke his naive and serene enjoyment of dancing with them. Morality, like the codes of decency in art, are for him abstract and incomprehensible concepts: he manages to laugh about it, like the black-necked warblers laugh, that is to say "inside" to hide sadness.
Sadness born, for him, of a bottomless nostalgia, like the one that must have overwhelmed Antoine, refusing himself to the delights and spells of the Queen of Sheba: "if you put your finger on my shoulder it would be like a trail of fire in your veins. The possession of the slightest place in my body will fill you with a joy more vehement than the conquest of an empire. Move your lips forward! My kisses taste like fruit that would melt in your heart! Ah! how you will lose yourself under my hair, smell my chest, be astonished by my limbs, and burned by my sloes, between my arms, in a whirlwind!" (Gustave Flaubert, "the temptation of Saint Anthony").
It is necessary to have, at least once, ridden bareback on a spirited horse, quivering nostrils, flaming croup, Dantesque muscles, exorbitant eyes, demented sex, to understand this need to say unceasingly the power of the beast at a gallop, the rise of desire, the reason burned out.
And Jean-Pierre Sergent was a horse breeder!
An unconditional lover of refractory women (Hildegarde de Bigen, Isabelle Eberhardt***, Alexandra David Neel), he tries to celebrate their beauty, autonomy and glory even in the giving and abandonment of self. This of course produces serial misunderstandings as the subject has become so impracticable: how to accept, for example, that a man celebrates a woman on the grounds of enjoyment and ecstasy if one forgets that the latter implies "an abandonment lived in common".****
His friend and philosopher, Marie-Madeleine Varet, is not mistaken when she reminds us that "Jean-Pierre Sergent's work embodies and masterfully illustrates this original intuition: when opposites unite, the imbalance, the tension that gives birth to beings, disappears, and the experience of pleasure and joy results. (...) It is only in the brief moment when two beings become one, when desire is pacified, that a fragment of happiness is felt. (...) The sexual act is therefore the most important of the rites and, performed as a rite, is the most effective means of participating in the cosmic work."
If writing makes it possible to say what daily social life disapproves of, retains, pushes back, delays, Jean-Pierre Sergent's painting grasps these prohibitions and spreads them without malice on the papers and various supports that he experiments with delight.
We understand then that for him, mineral, vegetal and organic are one and the same.
That all the colours of the spectrum participate in the same fever.
That all emotions, from birth to death, proceed from the same breath.
That all the words in all the books are only sketches, powerless to proclaim beauty.
That the only radical quest is that of harmony with nature.
That prehistoric paintings are matrix paintings.
That laughter is absolute righteousness.
That our age would have to stop fooling around to truly resonate.
And that beyond the ultimate ends of Everything, including the end of art, everything remains possible.
* Maurice Blanchot, "The unspeakable community"
** Georges Bataille again: "I call experience a journey to the end of man's possible. Everyone may not make this journey, but if he does, it implies denying the authorities, the existing values that limit the possible."
*** General Lyautey, who appreciated her understanding of Africa and her sense of freedom, said of her: "She was what attracted me most in the world: a refractory. To find someone who's truly herself, who's free from prejudice, inferiority, clichés and who passes through life, as free from everything as the bird in the sky, what a delight!"
**** Maurice Blanchot, "An abandonment lived in common until the ecstasy that surpasses the anguish of separation or aggregation "And that beyond the ultimate ends of Everything, including the end of art, everything remains possible.
BY FLORENCE ANDOKA: ONE WAY OR ANOTHER
And what is a sky that has no pillar? Jean-Pierre Sergent's work is hermetic in its syncretic nature, so, of course, we could spend hours wondering what is the origin of this silhouette, of this motif, of the links that may or may not exist between the two, the three, the four.
The eye travels from Zimbabwe to Greece, from the Hindus to the Mayas, time and space become concentric circles that telescope, overlap, collide, but no one loses or wins, everything is in everything, with the Bindû point, the centre of the world, in the middle. It is a dance of the gaze that is lost, of the memory that goes astray and necessarily comes up against what it ignores. And the hub makes the movement fast. Jean-Pierre Sergent's work is circular like the time he describes, archeological because it works in layers. It shines, it turns, the work is there. But what about its power to act on the viewer, this contemporary Western eye, born in times of religious, political and aesthetic deconstruction? Of course, not all looks are the same, but still, if the work is a threshold, an inside-out, an almost abstract coloured surface as much as a collection of symbols referring to another reality, what about the path to take? How do you go through the door, up the stairs without the path leading nowhere? There are, no doubt, several ways to access the work for the layman. Syncretism implies an absence of hierarchy between the symbols although all these elements, retained by the artist, are oriented in a common direction; saturation is a spring of the work, a saturated work, in a saturated society, in flow, in images, in knowledge all, always, at hand, without rarely taking the time to digest ; It scrolls, it's superimposed, all these images that assail us, and even though Jean-Pierre Sergent's images are images of the sacred, they are images all the same and images that form an imagery, and that's also our Western contemporaneity.
There is some Warhol in Sergent's work, starting with the use for several decades now, from New York, of serigraphy. The year 2000 is twenty years old and we are still waiting for that famous apocalyptic bug that was promised to us, unless the destructive saturation occurs only in our restless, annoyed brains, persecuted by the batch of information that is constantly accelerating, from Guy Debord to Hartmut Rosa. We go round in circles in the night and are devoured by fire. Would Sergent's colossal work be a vast cry for the archaic, the pre-industrial, the time for oneself which alone allows one to know oneself and to become aware of one's place in the whole of substance, infinite, extended? And the divinity holding its breath also holds time. In Sergent's long fresco, there is of course the shimmer of colour, the rhythm, the brilliance of the paint under the Plexiglas, the feeling that one form generates another, by difference, by repetition, by contagion; it's sure, it moves forward, we can't help it, we are embarked on what is born and dies, scrolls and is transformed. It is a cycle, an egg in which everything moves. It breathes. But more than that, it shits, it fucks, since there is what we see and what we don't see, which is nevertheless a fundamental leaven of the work, the white lotuses of fervour, Durga's mortal anger, but even more, the most common pornography, popular and Japanese, globalized and not at all scholarly, are the images of copulation taken from the Hentai and the porn magazines sold on newsstands. Neither Mayan, nor Aztec, nor Hindu, nor Mexican, nor Tibetan, sexuality and its representation speaks to everyone and to everyone, especially to the post-modern liberal eye.
I've never been fucked so deep in my entire life! Eat my pussy and burn my soul! It's not love, it's not the West, it's everywhere and it's all the time. It's in everything. And that too, it repeats itself, like a frenetic pulse, a pattern like any other, life regenerating itself, cosmic energies colliding, all these pine-pines with holes and these cries that we push, this joyful and violent trance within the reach of poodles. There are erotic trance, orgasmic trance, shamanic trance, meditative trance, mediumistic trance, ecsomatic trance, somnambulistic trance, poetic trance, creative trance. The whole thing is that the state of consciousness is modified, that we touch a world behind the world, that the subject disintegrates, that it takes off. If in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the spirit chooses the vulva in which it wishes to come back to life, then Jean-Pierre Sergent, is perhaps not so far from Gustave Courbet.